Monday 23 April 2018

Cullen delighted with McFadden's impact

Prior to last week's win over Wasps, McFadden had only featured five times for Leinster this season after he tore his quad against Cardiff back in October. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Prior to last week's win over Wasps, McFadden had only featured five times for Leinster this season after he tore his quad against Cardiff back in October. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

A delighted Leo Cullen has praised Fergus McFadden's return to form after the 30-year-old overcame a nightmare injury-hit season to come off the bench and seal Leinster's place in the Champions Cup semi-final.

Prior to last week's win over Wasps, McFadden had only featured five times for Leinster this season after he tore his quad against Cardiff back in October.

McFadden has had to watch the likes of Adam Byrne and Rory O'Loughlin excel during his spell on the sidelines but he played a key role when he came off the bench in place of the former on Saturday.

Cullen showed faith in the in-form Byrne but McFadden is likely to feature from the start against the Ospreys tomorrow as he looks to ensure that he plays a major role in the latter part of the season.

The raw emotion was etched across McFadden's face when he powered his way over the whitewash and Cullen said that he was delighted for him.

"Oh it was brilliant yeah, he picked up an injury early in the season and he's been pushing himself to get back.

"He probably flared himself up a little bit again so he was out of the game for a good chunk, played a couple of games during the Six Nations and worked incredibly hard to get back.

"And you can see what it means to him. People are talking about the younger guys but some of the older guys have plenty still to prove, which is good to see."

Commenting on his emotional reaction to scoring the try, McFadden admitted that it came about as a result of months of frustration out injured but his celebration was one that will certainly live long in the memory of the Leinster supporters.

"I suppose four months out would do that to you," McFadden maintained.

"I'm not usually one for going too mad after scoring a try, but I've been dreaming about that one for a while.

Contributing

"I was just delighted to be back on the team, the biggest thing for me was to feel like I'm contributing again.

"When you're injured for a period like that, you can feel a bit lost within the squad... yeah, great to contribute and for it to have made a difference on the day, it gave us a bit of breathing space which was great.

"The week before I was on the bench and I think I got around 14 minutes. The flip side of that is just trying to be ready when you're on the bench mentally.

"It was unfortunate for Adam that he had to come off early, but thankfully we adjusted and it didn't affect the team."

Irish Independent

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