McFadden allows himself to dream of green

Leinster players and coaches were, to a man, keen to look forward rather than back yesterday.

Fergus McFadden is one of those who had good reason to do both. One of the standouts in the three-point loss at the Stade Marcel Michelin two weeks ago, he followed that up with another competent display on Saturday.

It was his last-ditch try against Clermont Auvergne that secured Leinster what may yet prove a crucial bonus point on a weekend where personal plusses came second to collective disappointment.

For McFadden, it must have seemed like a case of déjà vu. He filled a similar brief out on the wing two years ago for the same back-to-back games against Clermont but this latest effort sets him up nicely for the months to come.

Ulster in Ravenhill this Friday should offer further scope to cement his place in Joe Schmidt’s starting 15 and make another deposit into the bank from which Declan Kidney & Co. will draw for the Six Nations to come.

McFadden makes no bones about furthering his ambitions in a market that remains crowded even with men like Brian O’Driscoll, Rob Kearney and now Tommy Bowe struggling for fitness.

“Certainly, I’d like to put myself in the shop window to get selected for the Six Nations between these games over Christmas and these next Heineken games [in January],” he said.

“Hopefully, Tommy makes a speedy recovery from whatever happened to his knee but, fingers crossed, I can play my way into the team and be in the mix for the start of the Six Nations.”

McFadden’s versatility could just as easily be portrayed as a weakness as a strength. He remains a 12 at heart, but has been utilised by club and country on the wing and he points to his involvement at last year’s World Cup as proof that his ability to wear numerous caps can only help win more of them.


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