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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 22 May, 2019
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'It was almost like I was in a different club' - McFadden learning from Leinster's young guns

Fergus McFadden says the World Cup has allowed Leinster’s youngsters to come out of their shell.

Cathal Marsh and James Tracy are just two of Leinster's youngsters to play during the World Cup.
Cathal Marsh and James Tracy are just two of Leinster's youngsters to play during the World Cup.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

HE ISN’T GOING to pretend that missing out on the World Cup was something he wanted, but he’s found the silver lining.

With 17 Leinster players away at the tournament, the first few days back at training after the warm-up games felt like arriving into a new club.

He knew the faces and the names, but there were plenty he didn’t know well. Not only were 17 of his teammates missing, but plenty would have been his closest friends, so there was a slightly lonesome feel to the first few days.

But with so many of the big names missing, the World Cup has allowed the younger members of the team to come out of their shells, and many have stepped up to the mark in the opening rounds.

Cathal Marsh, Garry Ringrose, Josh van der Flier and Ross Molony have all impressed in the early Pro12 games in the absence of experienced heads.

And speaking at the launch of World Egg Day yesterday, McFadden says it’s been a refreshing experience on the pitch with the next generation of Leinster players.

Fergus McFadden Fergus McFadden joined with Bord Bia to celebrate World Egg Day yesterday in Dublin. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“In a roundabout way I don’t think I would have got to know half of some of the younger lads as well if it wasn’t for me not getting picked for the World Cup.

“All my closest mates from Leinster are away at the World Cup and the guys that are a similar age bracket to me, so going back into Leinster I was a small bit out of my comfort zone in a way because I wasn’t surrounded by the guys that I have been over the last few years,” he says.

While there’s no doubt he’d prefer to be preparing for a quarter-final next week in Irish training gear, the 29-year-old says the last few weeks have almost refreshed him as a rugby player.

“That was pretty good for me, I was mixing with younger guys, and getting on really well with some of the younger heads and getting new ideas, and you almost have a bit of a bounce in your step going into training. There’s new and fresh faces that you want to impress as well, you want to impress the young talent you’re training with.

Garry Ringrose makes a break Garry Ringrose is one of the young Leinster stars to impress during the World Cup. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Really I just felt that a lot of my closest friends from the team that are always there just weren’t, so it was almost like I was in a different club in a weird way.

“There’s such a new, young crop of players coming through and it’s really great, and it’s a credit to Leo, the faith he’s shown in his first few games as head coach to put those guys in,” he adds.

As well as the younger faces in front of him in the changing room, there’s also a new coaching team. Leo Cullen may not be a stranger to McFadden, but the recently appointed backs coach Girvan Dempsey has made a real impression on the senior team, after previously handling the academy side.

“It was great for it to be announced and I think he and Leo really compliment each other, and I think Girv has some really great ideas and he’s a bit of a stickler for detail as well, so he seems to be getting the best out of guys.”

“Fergus McFadden and Sophie Spence joined with Bord Bia and sports nutritionist Daniel Davey to celebrate World Egg Day and to raise awareness of the versatility and nutritional benefits of eating eggs as part of a healthy, balanced diet. The trio also highlighted that eggs are beneficial for fitness fans and athletes due to their high protein content and essential amino acids which aid muscle building and recovery after training. Check out www.bordbia.ie/eggs for delicious egg recipes developed by Daniel Davey.”

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Neil Treacy

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