Fitzpatrick released from hospital after heart scare

Ulster's Declan Fitzpatrick
Ulster's Declan Fitzpatrick

Ireland and Ulster prop, Declan Fitzpatrick, will undergo further precautionary tests in Belfast on an irregular heartbeat problem.

The 30-year-old spent three nights in hospital in Glasgow after he was admitted suffering from heart palpitations during Ulster’s RaboDirect PRO12 match at Scotstoun in the Scottish city.

Fitzpatrick returned to Belfast yesterday and is due to undergo further tests.

Ulster Rugby said last night: “Declan suffered an irregular heartbeat during Friday night’s game against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun and was taken to hospital.

“He underwent a successful procedure yesterday to correct the irregularity.

“He left hospital this afternoon (Monday) and will return to Belfast where he will undergo further tests.”

Ulster obviously could not put a time on how long Fitzpatrick would need in recovery, but it will be of major concern to the player, his employers and fans.

Supporters took to the Ulster Rugby facebook site and social media feed, Twitter, to wish the player a full recovery.

Meanwhile, injuries to other prop forwards, Tom Court and Ricky Lutton are not as serious as first thought.

With Fitzpatrick adding to the growing injury list and not available for the remainder of this season no doubt given the nature of his problem, the loss of Court and Lutton coupled with Callum Black and John Afoa already in the rehab room, Ulster were facing a front row crisis after Friday’s 27-9 loss to the Warriors.

However, the news was better yesterday.

Court looked to have suffered a shoulder injury against Glasgow, but Ulster confirmed yesterday that it was actually a thumb injury.

An X-ray yesterday revealed it was not broken and he would resume training later this week.

Lutton sustained a toe injury and an X-ray yesterday also revealed there was no break. Ulster Rugby said he would have ongoing physiotherapy ahead of the crunch Irish derby against current PRO21 leaders Leinster at Ravenhill on Friday, May 2.

It is also understood that Callum Black (ankle) and John Afoa (back) would both be available for the penultimate fixture in the regular league season which is also the official opening of the new Ravenhill Stadium.

Ulster currently sit in third place in the table, a point ahead of Glasgow. But the Scots have a game in hand and are almost certainly likely to leapfrog Ulster for third place given they have the easier run-in to the regular league season.

Ospreys are now targeting fourth place from Ulster, but are five points behind at this stage and to snatch fourth place and go through to the play-offs the Welsh region need to take bonus point wins in their remaining matches and hope Ulster lose their final games to Leinster and Munster.

One win could be enough for Ulster to take fourth place provided Ospreys did not pick up two bonus point wins - Ulster would go through on having won more matches during the league campaign if they were to finish level on points.

Ulster skipper, Johann Muller, called on his team to show their character going into the last two matches and ensure they make the top four.

He said: “We have got a bit of a break now. We have got a week and we have to recover mentally and physically.

“We are playing two finals now because basically if we lose one of them there wont be any play off chances. The pressure is on and we have to react.”