"Zeebs used to call him 'Young ROG' when he was down here" 6 months ago

"Zeebs used to call him 'Young ROG' when he was down here"

"Is that a fact? He's playing, is he?"

With Connacht head coach Andy Friend laying his selection cards on the table, on Tuesday, and announcing his intentions to play a fresh XV against Munster, Conor Fitzgerald sets to get another start against his native province. JJ Hanrahan was delighted to hear of the impending reunion.

Fitzgerald was a promising underage prospect for Munster and played some pre-season and 'A' rugby for them only to be released, at the age of 19, in 2018. Connacht came in for the Limerick native, though, and he has repaid the faith they have shown in him.

Conor's brother Stephen, who can play across the back three, arrived on loan at The Sportsground during his first season with Connacht and both will be part of the squad that end's this season, as well as the 2020/21 campaign.

Fitzgerald has made 16 appearances for Connacht so far and is set to start in the No.10 jersey against Munster when both sides face off at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

Conor Fitzgerald makes a carry against Munster in December 2019. (Credit: Sportsfile)

Munster's losing bonus point, against Leinster, was all it took to mathematically end Connacht's already feint hopes of a place in the Guinness PRO14 knock-out stages. Friend's side were too good for Ulster, in their return to rugby, and another 2020/21 marker can be laid down against Munster.

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The current Connacht squad has four former Munster players in their senior squad, with Sam Arnold and Alex Wootton surely badgering Friend to be included in the matchday squad - along with the Fitzgeralds - at the weekend.

Munster outhalf JJ Hanrahan was one of the reasons Fitzgerald could not get a look-in at his home province, but the Kerry native is pleased to see how well he has fared with Connacht.

"Fitzy is a great player. I know Zeebs used to call him Young ROG when he was down here, when he first came into the academy.

"He's a quality player. Sometimes there can be a bit of a backlog here. He went up there and he got a second lease. Andy Friend has put an awful lot of confidence in him and he's played him an awful lot.

"He's been playing really well, goal-kicking and kicking well out of hand. He's a quality young player and a quality young talent in a good backline that Connacht have. I'm sure he'll be raring to go at the weekend."

Munster are still in the hunt for the knock-out stages so they will save the pleasantries for after the final whistle. For a lively competitor like Fitzgerald, he will have no problem parking the sentimentality too.