I felt like ripping off my cast to take on All Blacks – McFadden
FERGUS McFADDEN had the cast on his arm removed yesterday and is now in a race to be fit for Leinster's final two Heineken Cup games, against Castres and Ospreys.
The Ireland winger suffered a broken bone in his hand during last month's defeat to Australia and will miss the back-to-back games against Northampton Saints.
McFadden cast a frustrated figure as he watched his team-mates run New Zealand close a week later, but insists he saw enough during November to look forward to 2014 full of confidence about Ireland's future under Joe Schmidt.
"Hopefully (I'll be back) sometime in the new year," he said.
"I'm trying to be as optimistic as possible, I've been given a timeline by the doctor, so hopefully I can come under that.
"There's never a good time for an injury, so the week before the Test against the All Blacks was a kick in the stones.
"It's just with these back-to-backs, straight away when I heard it was a broken bone... they're kind of the fulcrum of the pool stages and missing them is unfortunate. Thankfully, in Leinster, we have good strength in depth in the back three."
The Kildare native impressed during his outings against Samoa and Australia and was one of Ireland's players of the series.
There was plenty to build on for the upcoming Six Nations and McFadden believes that Ireland can be successful in next year's championship.
"People don't pay good money to come to the Aviva and see us get beaten, that's not our level. Hopefully we can keep the standard up from the All Blacks game and bring it into the Six Nations," he said.
"We've got the players, we've got the coaching staff and I think we can take massive confidence from the performance against New Zealand.
"I thought (the physicality against the All Blacks) was great – I felt like ripping off my cast and getting involved, it was brilliant.
"It's what we're capable of – you see it in the top club games between Leinster, Munster and Ulster. You have to win collisions against the All Blacks and I think in the first half we did that, we really disrupted their breakdown, they were kind of chasing shadows.
"But then, in the second half, you knew they were going to have that purple patch and we managed to withstand that, holding up Israel Dagg on the line, little things like that seemed to be going our way.
"The last play ... it was a day to forget – but in one way, it was a day to be proud of, so hopefully we can continue that."