Monday 23 July 2018

McFadden: Don't judge us until end of the season

 

Fergus McFadden during a Leinster rugby squad press conference at Leinster Rugby Headquarters in Dublin. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Fergus McFadden during a Leinster rugby squad press conference at Leinster Rugby Headquarters in Dublin. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Fergus McFadden believes Leinster are making progress this season but warned that the province will be judged by how they finish the campaign.

The manner of the St Stephen's Day win over Munster has fans expecting big things and the winger says the squad are determined to finish the campaign better than they did last season when they came up short in PRO12 and Champions Cup semi-finals.

Leinster are top of their European pool and second in Conference B of the PRO14 ahead of their meeting with Connacht at the RDS on New Year's Day.

After making 12 changes in personnel between the wins over Exeter and Munster, Leo Cullen is expected to again rotate his squad with Johnny Sexton fit.

There is plenty of new year cheer around the province but McFadden warned that they haven't achieved anything yet.

"We won the back-to-back games last year, then you run into one of the toughest games of the season - Christmas, down in Thomond Park and you're after coming off the back-to-back games," he said.

"We lost that game and this year we went down and performed very well and beat them well with a fully-changed team. You look at that and think we must be in a better place but you can't judge where we're going to be until we're getting to that April period when you're looking to start peaking."

Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss and James Ryan are out of the Connacht clash, while Sean O'Brien and Adam Byrne could return. Connacht have no fresh concerns.

Munster, meanwhile, expect to have Keith Earls available for their meeting with Ulster.

Irish Independent

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