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McFadden hoping he Fitz' in on left wing

FATE is a funny thing. The culture of success is typified by the attitude of the foot-soldiers.

Because for every man who will rise, another has to fall.

But when you put it into the overall greater context, it all boils down to the success of the team and the players understand the greater good far outweighs individual advancement.

And Fergus McFadden knows about being tantalisingly close to success.

He has played a key role for the province so far again this year where his 18 appearances have seen him perform strongly at both PRO12 and Heineken Cup levels.

The all-round attributes which he brings to the panel in terms of speed, accuracy, defensive grunt and a consistent kicking ratio adds an important dimension to the panel.

This year, with his Rugby World Cup selection in mind, has been a step forward for the Kildare man.

And opportunities to impress at this, the crunch time in the campaign, are possibly going to increase given the unfortunate nature of Luke Fitzgerald's injury.

Talk to McFadden about the context of how he feels coming into tomorrow night's PRO12 Play Off against Glasgow Warriors and he measures his response.

For life has taught him that sometimes glory comes from another's pain. "Luke is one of my best friends in the game and I was absolutely gutted for him that he got injured when he did," the 25-year-old revealed ahead of the visit of the Warriors to the RDS.



Flared

"He had a stop-start season for the last few months having impressed in a run of games before missing the Six Nations through injury. And then he looked as though he was coming back to some of his best form and his neck injury flared up again. It's hard; both for him and for the group.

"It's a blow for the squad because everyone knows his value too, which is immense. He's one of the most naturally gifted players I've ever played with, but hopefully things will go well for him after his surgery and we see him back in a Leinster jersey sooner rather than later. He'll come back stronger than ever. Of that I'm sure."

The timing of Fitzgerald's absence opens a door, but McFadden knows that there will a battle royale for the number 11 jersey. Competition levels over the course of the campaign have taught him that now is the time to keep the head down.

"Obviously there's an incentive there for a few of us to try and get in the first team now and there has been a spring in everyone's steps this week. I've been involved in both of the province's Heineken Cup successes. In 2009, I was the 23rd man, so my role would have been to help with the warm-up and things like that, while last year I was on the bench.

"So from a progression side of things, I'd like to keep taking steps in the right direction and try to get into the starting fifteen and I'd bite someone's hand off to get the opportunity! But all of the players who are in the mix share the same hope. That shows you what the competition levels are like. But if I'm honest, all we want is to get our hands on some silverware and if we can do that for Leinster then we'll all share in that."



Ethic

He points to Luke McGrath becoming the 49th player to be used by the province this year as an example of the squad ethic which courses through the organisation's veins.

"Absolutely," he agrees. "And that is a key reason why we're going well this year. There's more interaction these days between the Academy and the Senior squad on a day-to-day basis and we're a tight unit in that regard.

"The World Cup was a challenge for the coaching team to try and make progressions up the table, but it also enabled them to blood more players and when we came back from New Zealand, having kept a close eye on how things were going back home, it gave us all a lift to see the levels of excellence that the players had been building upon back home.

"Luke is one of the younger players with a lot of potential and it is good that the likes of himself and others this year can step up into the team and get their first taste of senior action."

What does he remember from his own early days in the set-up?

"I started off in Cill Dara RFC playing Mini rugby and by the time I moved to secondary school (in Clongowes Wood College SJ) and rugby started to open doors for me.

"Playing for Leinster was a dream at that stage. By the time I got into the Academy the whole culture of Leinster was changing and becoming more inclusive.

"The players from the squad are scattered from around the province -- Carlow, Meath, Louth, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow for example -- and the 12 County Army who follow us now at home and abroad is a major reason why we have enjoyed success in recent years."


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