Friday 19 January 2018

McFadden's curious week ends in a trip to Paris

On Monday morning, Fergus McFadden was hauled out for Leinster media duties during which he said he hadn't had any contact from Joe Schmidt recently.

The following day McFadden (above) found himself training with Ireland before returning to Leinster to prepare for Zebre tonight before again being recalled by Schmidt to start on the bench in the Stade de France tomorrow.

"I know that Fergus McFadden was named on the bench for Leinster today, we've just flogged him off them," Schmidt said yesterday.

"I don't even know that Leo (Cullen) knows yet, but he's probably seen this team and I've got a phone call waiting for me on my phone."

Cullen though had been expecting McFadden to be pulled from his squad as he explained:

"He came in and was at all our meetings. There was always a chance based on the fact that we knew he wouldn't be training with us (yesterday).

"There was every possibility Ferg could have been called into the Irish fold based on what happened with them in training. It's happened in the past so there was no major drama from our end."

Club side set for

stiff French test

Clontarf's Matt D'Arcy will again captain the Ulster Bank Club international team when they take on their French counterparts in Paris this evening.

Players from 10 different league clubs are represented in the side coached by Old Belvedere's Paul Cunningham.

Lansdowne's in-form out-half and former Munster player Scott Deasy starts as does Stephen Murphy who has been instrumental in league leaders UCD's season thus far.

Quote of the day

'We had a good chat about it and probably as coaches it's a case of making sure we stick together and not try and allow anyone to put wedges between us, which can easily happen with a wrong comment or a wrong interpretation of something.' - Warren Gatland refutes the notion that Gareth Anscombe's late withdrawal against Ireland last week was gamesmanship and also revealed that he spoke to Joe Schmidt about the matter afterwards.

Number of the day

95 The number of minutes that Ireland trained for in Carton House this week, according to Schmidt. 32 minutes on Tuesday and 63 minutes yesterday. Precise.

Compiled by Cian Tracey

Irish Independent

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