‘We need to start getting tries’ – McFadden wants Leinster backline to fire

IT’S TIME FOR the Leinster backline to start fulfilling their attacking potential, according to wing Fergus McFadden.

The Ireland international returned from a thumb injury in last weekend’s win over Ulster, but says there is more to come from himself and his teammates behind the scrum.

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Matt O’Connor’s side have been far from free-flowing in attack in recent times, even if the performances against Connacht and Ulster over the inter-provincial festive period offered some encouragement.

With the likes of McFadden, the Kearney brothers, Ben Te’o and Eoin Reddan fit again, O’Connor can finally piece together his first-choice backline.

“I think we had a cut a few times at the weekend and it was a bit better, but I think we’re maybe a small bit off there too,” says McFadden of the Leinster backs.

“We need to start getting some tries and taking the pressure off us.”

That said, Leinster were more threatening with ball in hand against Ulster, particularly in the final quarter. There was more joined-up thinking in running lines and the handling was slicker.

McFadden puts the progress down to alterations in O’Connor’s training and a fuller squad.

“The last few weeks, we’ve been going through a few more structural drills with the pack mixed in with the backline off phase play stuff,” explains the 28-year-old.

McFadden made some crunching hits against Ulster. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“That seemed to work better at the weekend and the inconsistency with injuries and guys coming in and out [wasn’t helpful]. In the next few weeks, Matt’s going to have pretty much a full deck of cards to pick from.”

“Thankfully, we’ve got through this first period of the season and we’re still in a good place. Fingers crossed we can just kick on.”

McFadden admits there is excitement within the Leinster squad around the swiftly approaching European fixtures against Castres and Wasps, even if this weekend’s Pro12 clash with Cardiff is the immediate priority.

“There’s a build-up to these European games. You don’t just arrive on a Friday before the game, it builds up over weeks. If you don’t have it, then you shouldn’t be playing in this sort of set-up.

Personally, McFadden is relishing being fit again, having missed much of the season so far with his thumb issue and an ankle injury before that. He admits he was “blowing at times” during his 80-minute comeback against Ulster, but enjoyed the physical test.

Beyond January’s Champions Cup games, the Six Nations looms large, although McFadden insists he is not thinking about breaking back into Joe Schmidt’s set up yet.

“I’ve had a tough season, and I just want to get into it now and put myself in the best position to get picked for Europe in a couple of weeks.

“To be honest, Ireland’s not really in the forefront of my mind after not being involved in November and the lads going so well. I’ll just look to get back playing with Leinster and if anything comes from that, then great.”

Sean O’Brien and Cian Healy to return to contact training within three weeksLeinster’s Quinn Roux to remain on loan at Connacht for rest of season

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