Thursday 27 June 2019

Fardy: Money is not everything to me

Ex-Wallaby is perfectly content with his decision to join Leinster

Fardy in pensive mood at Leinster’s press conference yesterday. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Fardy in pensive mood at Leinster’s press conference yesterday. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Five months after moving to Dublin, Scott Fardy is content with his new way of life.

Ordinarily at this time of year, the Australian would have his feet up and be sipping a beer in the sun but he has enough to keep him occupied, both on and off the pitch to not be sidetracked about the idea of having to lace up his boots for the festive interprovincial derbies.

Fardy's wife recently gave birth to the couple's first child, a son named August. That alone has been a life-changing event and if he has taken to fatherhood as well as he has adapted to northern hemisphere rugby, then he won't be doing too bad at all.

The 33-year-old has been a colossus since joining Leinster but he might never have ended up on these shores, had he opted to accept the more lucrative offers that lay elsewhere.

Leinster's previous European successes have been predicated on having a grizzled, inspirational overseas signing in their pack and so far Fardy has lived up to every expectation.


Fardy in action against Exeter. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Fardy in action against Exeter. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

For the first time in 13 years, the province won their first four pool games and Fardy was instrumental in that run, particularly in the back-to-back wins over Exeter Chiefs.

So this Champions Cup business is pretty easy then, eh?

"I don't think so," Fardy smiles.

"It is a different format than I've played in my career. It feels like a World Cup format with the pools.

"It is a huge challenge, obviously a lot of pressure that goes into those games but I'm very happy to get four from four at the moment. I know there is nothing settled yet and there is two big games coming up."

Speak to anyone within the Leinster squad and they will tell you the positive influence that Fardy has been since joining the province, and his performances have been reflective of how happy his family is.

"I wanted to come overseas, I wanted to experience playing European rugby," he explains.

"Ideally, that would be with a club playing at the business end (of the season). Leinster have proven they can get to the business end every year and have the squad to do so.

"If you look at the talent in the squad, you want to play alongside those guys.

"I wanted to enjoy my rugby. Money is not everything to me. Put it that way.

"I am happy where I am. You also want to keep learning. I'm learning stuff here. I want to keep growing my game, get better in my own game and, personally, in my life."

Winning silverware is Fardy's ultimate aim and while he accepts that time is against him in his quest to do so, Leinster are perfectly set to launch a title shot in both the Champions Cup and the Guinness PRO14.

"If this is the twilight of my career, I want to enjoy it and I want to win things," the 39-times-capped former Wallaby insists.

"I didn't want to go somewhere and just play. I want to go to a place and win. That's important to me.

"I think everybody should always want to win more - shouldn't they? Every player should want to win more.

"Those are the kind of guys you want to play and the guys in this club want to win more things."

Fardy's performances have been remarkably consistent and he has also helped bring the best out of Devin Toner, who is playing some of his best rugby for Leinster in some time.

That's not the mention the younger players like James Ryan and Ross Molony who are learning everyday from a wily old character whose humility is such that any praise is deflected back onto the squad as a whole.

"I guess that's the important thing. I'm just a small piece of it (jigsaw)," Fardy maintains.

"It's a whole squad effort. There was plenty of good locks here already before I got here, and hopefully I could help them develop as players.

"I just look after my own game and play well. I'm just one piece in a big puzzle here, probably not the biggest piece.

"There are a lot of other guys who play. I'm happy here, the way we're treated by Leinster and the way you're prepped to perform is top-line.

"The injuries are being looked after well and stuff like that. I feel like a guy of my age can play for many years. Similarly to the Irish blokes, they get a fair bit of time off to recover and get back to the game."

The likes of Nathan Hines, Brad Thorn and Fardy's compatriot Rocky Elsom have set the standard for overseas players in Leinster and he is determined to forge his own reputation.

"Everyone talks about Rocky. We all knew from back home what he'd achieved here. From what I've heard, it was one of his favourite places to play."

It's still early days but if Fardy leaves Leinster with anything like the cult hero status that Elsom has, he will be remembered fondly in the province for many years to come.


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