Eddie O'Sullivan recalls giving Luke Fitzgerald his international debut against the Pacific Islands

The former Ireland head coach spoke to Off The Ball this evening

Eddie O'Sullivan recalls giving Luke Fitzgerald his international debut against the Pacific Islands

Image: Mike Egerton / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Irish rugby today paid tribute to Luke Fitzgerald, who announced his retirement this afternoon on advice from his doctors.

Tributes have been coming in from around the country and on tonight's Off The Ball, former Ireland head coach, Eddie O'Sullivan recalls giving the fullback his international debut.

"It was the Autumn of 2006 and it was one of those Autumns were you had a Pacific Islands game, or in our case kind of a tier two game," he said, "Although we didn't know for sure what the Pacific Islands would bring. It was supposed to be the crème de la crème of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

"So there was a chance to get some guys in. There were three new guys in there, Luke [Fitzgerald], Jamie Heaslip and Stephen Ferris.

"The thing about Luke was that he had this kind of innate football brain, where he would read the game before he got the ball which is gold dust when it came to line-breaks.

"What I saw what he had was frightening acceleration and he had these unbelievable evasion skills."

O'Sullivan went on to commend his appearances at the Rugby World Cup last year, claiming he spotted a gap against Argentina that you "couldn't get a razor blade" through.