Sunday 22 October 2017

'Hat-trick hero' Fergus McFadden seals huge Irish win over Canada

Ruaidhri O’Connor in Toronto

LES KISS hailed Ireland’s hat-trick hero Fergus McFadden after his side’s 40-14 win over Canada in Toronto last night.

The interim coach hands the reins over to Joe Schmidt after two wins on tour and was delighted by the big improvements from the three point win over the US Eagles in Houston.

McFadden had a stormer at the BMO Field, playing his part in Andrew Trimble’s opening try, before contributing three of his own. Tommy O’Donnell and Darren Cave also crossed for the tourists.

It was a fine end to a year when the Leinster winger found himself battling for international position and often out of the equation come game time.

And Kiss praised his ability to bounce back from disappointment.

“Fergus is just one of those players you want to have around your team. He is such a great character. What he brings to a team in terms of energy and enthusiasm is sensational,” he said.

“If he doesn’t get selected he is still the same person. He has an uncanny ability to score tries at international level.

“Last week he shipped an injury in the game and he toughed his way through it. He trained through a bit of injury this week and got a knock in the game again but just keeps powering on. I can’t speak highly about him and the way he played.”

Having fielded six new caps on this tour and won both games, the Australian believes that Ireland have found a few new gems for next season and said a number of his players had grown on tour.

“Without a doubt we found out a little about ourselves as players,” he said.

“From a coaching perspective it was certainly encouraging on a lot of fronts. Sometimes the perception is you can come and get these tier two nations and run it away easily but they were both tough affairs. Tonight i think it was the 54th minute it was 14-12. We had to find something, keep our composure and again fantastic leadership through Peter (O’Mahony).

“It pulled us through to a place where we could have the intent to attack as much as we can. And that ended up getting the tries for us. Six new caps and guys have learnt a lot about themselves. I think it has been a really good tour in that respect.”

He was also happy with Ian Madigan’s display as the 24-year-old out-half won his second game as a starter.

“I thought Ian deserved the start. To manage a difficult game the way he did last week. It was quite seductive and tempting to actually overplay his hand last week but he controlled it and managed it and pushed the game where he needed to,” he said.

The game was played in front of a record crowd for a Canadian rugby match of 20,396, while winger James Pritchard broke Gareth Rees’s points scoring record of 491.

However, it was little consolation the Australian born player who was crestfallen after the defeat.

“We’ve never come across a crowd like this in Canada. We’ve played overseas in places like Ireland and those teams are used to those sorts of crowds,” he said.

“If you go into that dressing room you will see how devastated everybody in there is. We wanted a good performance, we wanted to go out and show that rugby in Canada has come a long way and I think everyone in there just felt that we’ve let the 20,000 people down tonight.”

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