Tuesday 27 September 2016

No excuses from McFadden as Leinster aim to bounce back

Published 29/03/2016 | 02:30

Leinster's Fergus McFadden. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster's Fergus McFadden. Photo: Sportsfile

Given that they are the bulk suppliers to the Ireland squad, Leinster regularly face the challenge of reintegrating players into their system but they are not using that as an excuse for the last couple of defeats, according to Fergus McFadden.

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Leinster are likely to include more of their international contingent from the start for Saturday's crucial derby against Munster with Johnny Sexton amongst those set to be restored to the side.

Given that he wasn't included in Ireland's original 35-man Six Nations squad, yet featured in the last two games, McFadden perhaps understands more than most the difficulties in playing in differing systems.

"No, and that's not really an excuse, and it wouldn't be one that we'd be looking for," McFadden (pictured) responded emphatically when asked if it was more difficult for a team like Leinster to rediscover their form in the Pro12.

"The coaching staff here have always expressed how delighted they are with the guys going away to camp.

"Ideally, they want to push us in a position where we can play at Test level. It was great to have that many guys involved. I just think we can use it to our advantage that those guys are playing, like I did, for a couple of games.

"Once we get all those guys back in the groove with Leinster, hopefully it can be a positive for us. There was a lot we can improve on. We're definitely hurting as a group.

"You've got guys back who've been using different attacking and defensive systems under Joe (Schmidt) for eight weeks with Ireland.

"They come back in. They've got three to four days' preparation before an inter-pro derby. Hopefully, there will be more consistency across the park from us this week. The two weeks back together will hopefully stand to us."

Plenty of Leinster's frontline players will only have returned to training late last week but with a more settled routine in place this week, they can't make any excuses come Saturday evening.

However, they are sweating over the fitness of Cian Healy (back) and Luke Fitzgerald (shoulder). Both players were forced off early in Saturday's defeat to Connacht but Leinster are hopeful that both will recover in time.

On a personal note, McFadden's confidence is understandably high after returning to the international fold and while he will be eager to travel to South Africa with Ireland in June, he knows that the only way he will do so is by keeping hold of his place in Leinster's starting XV.

Playing a second derby in a week will provide McFadden with the ideal stage to further stake his claim but he is wary of the threat that Munster pose.

"They've probably got more of a balance than playing the wide-wide game that they played under (Rob) Penney," he said.

"They've got the balance of playing that at times and also of rolling up their sleeves, keeping it tight and trying to bash you with their pack.

"They seem to be coming into form at the right time of the season. They were getting flak around Christmas time and after that. But they are coming into form at the right time. We're going to have a big challenge defensively."

Irish Independent

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