McFadden hoping Ireland can light blue touchpaper at Twickenham

McFadden hoping Ireland can light blue touchpaper at Twickenham
Fergus McFadden during Leinster Rugby squad training at UCD, Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile.

Fergus McFadden says he has already seen signs that Andy Farrell is learning from Ireland’s awful 2019.

The Englishman took over from Joe Schmidt after last year’s disastrous World Cup and has led the team to back-to-back Six Nations wins over Scotland and Wales.

Ireland edged their way past a stubborn Scottish side in round one, but stepped up their performance level against Wales, beating the defending Grand Slam champions with something to spare.

“It is inevitably going to be different under a different coaching ticket and I am sure Andy is going to bring in different shapes especially within the opposition 22 — and Mike Catt,” McFadden said.

“What Joe did with Ireland worked for so long but obviously towards the end it wasn’t working so well.

“You have seen a couple of different moves, the one where Cian Healy gives it to Conor [Murray] and then Johnny [Sexton] scores that try which was so important and then I think they used the forwards a lot against Wales but they had the ability to get the ball early into the wide channels.

“When we got the ball to Jordan [Larmour] and he gave that great pass to Andrew [Conway] it was nice to see that because I am sure England will be looking at that because they bring a challenge in tight and out wide.”

CJ Stander won the man of the match award, but Andrew Conway and Jordan Larmour, who McFadden has played with over the years, also impressed, with his current clubmate standing out at full back.

“He is an outstanding talent and you have seen some incredible stuff he has done during games, he does plenty of that stuff in training,” he said.

“JL is just getting better and better and I am so happy to see him going so well and he seems to have become so much more comfortable at full back because he was playing initially on the wing.

He seems to have cemented his place at 15. He is such a huge threat, even that try against Wales in the first half, it has such a huge bearing on the game, because if we don’t score Wales hang in. He can beat players one on one.

Larmour is likely to be key for both club and country this season, and he’s nailed on to start at full back in Twickenham next week.

That game could have a huge bearing on Farrell’s first season, but McFadden thinks it could also be important for Leinster.

Twelve Leinster players were involved for Ireland against Wales, even with Garry Ringrose and Caelan Doris injured, while Eddie Jones had seven Saracens players in his England side that beat Scotland in Edinburgh.

Last year, Sarries beat Leinster in the Heineken Champions Cup final just months after England hammered Ireland in Aviva Stadium, while the year before things were flipped with Leinster beating Sarries at the quarter-final stage, weeks after Ireland had won the grand slam in Twickenham.

“That’s an interesting stat that, I didn’t know that,” McFadden said, “there can always be hangovers for the test guys coming back, depending on how things went. Obviously, when the guys came back in 2018 after winning the grand slam, confidence is at an all-time high.

“That Saracens game in the quarter in the Aviva, which I played in, it was tight margins there. That could have gone either way. They didn’t have Billy Vunipola playing that day either, he was a big loss for them.

“From a confidence perspective, you’d have to say there’s benefits in it. One, we want to see the guys who are involved from Leinster doing well when they’re with Ireland. If they can win in there and we remain winning back here, it adds for hopefully good results down the line.”

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