Friday 28 July 2017

McFadden contract extension to boost under-pressure Leinster

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

FERGUS McFADDEN looks set to commit his future to Leinster and Ireland by signing a two-year contract extension with the European champions.

The 26-year-old Kildare man had attracted interest from Premiership clubs in England and Top 14 outfits in France, but looks set to remain with his native province and build on the steady improvement he has shown in recent years.

McFadden has established himself as a regular in the blue jersey over the past three seasons and has been a consistent performer this campaign in a difficult year for the province.

His next challenge is to become a more regular fixture in the starting Ireland team. He has won 16 caps since his debut against Italy in 2011, eight of which have come from the bench.

Initially a centre, McFadden has impressed as an explosive winger since adapting his game to play on the flank and his versatility has been valuable at both provincial and international level.

The news comes as a welcome boost for Leinster coach Joe Schmidt, who is expected to welcome Rob Kearney and Brian O'Driscoll back into his match-day squad for tomorrow night's trip to face Edinburgh.

Kearney has played just 32 minutes this season after injuring his back against Connacht in September, but he and Ireland captain O'Driscoll – who underwent an ankle operation in November – have made quicker-than-expected recoveries from surgery.

Their return could give the European champions a major lift ahead of next week's do-or-die Heineken Cup clash with the Scarlets at the RDS.

Irish Independent

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