A PLAYER OF Scott Fardy’s calibre was always going to hit the ground running at Leinster, but the instant impact he has made at the province was even more noticeable by his absence from the South African tour.
Fardy was given permission by Leinster to remain at home as his wife is expecting the couple’s first child, and his unavailability was keenly felt, particularly during last week’s defeat to the Cheetahs.
The 39-time capped Australian international is still waiting to become a father but is back in the fold for Friday’s Guinness Pro14 clash with Edinburgh and while all the talk is about the return of Leinster’s five Lions, Fardy’s inclusion is just as significant.
He has settled into life at Leinster instantly and the transition for the 33-year-old and his wife has been smooth with no major hiccups so far, although the arrival of a baby Fardy could throw a spanner in the works.
“I’m very excited,” he admits. “It’s a bit of perspective as well, looking forward to being a father.”
As well as forming a strong second row alliance, Fardy will be able to talk babies and swap advice with Devin Toner, who became a Dad for the first time when his wife, Mary, gave birth to baby Max last week.
“It’s been really good working with Dev,” Fardy continues. “Like most guys here, he’s a great fella. Dev has great experience with Leinster and 50 odd caps for Ireland, it’s good to play alongside him — and he makes me look short too!
“It has been very easy to settle in. It’s a great club and everyone has been fantastic. It has been an easy transition for me and my wife and an easy move. It feels like a cold Australia to me.”
Indeed, Fardy’s arrival from the Brumbies, where he spent six seasons, was seen as a real coup for Leinster and so it has proved as he’s already shown glimpses of what he’ll bring over the next two years during the early-season victories over Dragons and Cardiff.
Leo Cullen spoke of his admiration for Fardy as a player before his arrival and how he had talked to the Sydney native over the phone outlining why he wanted to bring him to Leinster.
Fardy, who has operated primarily in the back-row, said it didn’t take much convincing for him to leave Australia and head for Dublin.
“It’s a very professional organisation so I wasn’t surprised, that’s the reason why I wanted to come here,” he explained. “Leinster are famous for their academy and ability to produce young players and that’s part of the reason why I wanted to come here, to see how Leinster achieved success.
“Myself and Leo talked a little bit and obviously managers and all that do most of the talking but we talked a few times and he discussed what he wanted from me. Very happy to be here.
“I just had to convince the wife to move to Dublin but I think she loves it. It’s not December yet but once I convinced her. I’ve always loved coming to Ireland, I’ve come three or four times and always enjoyed the people and the place. It was an easy decision for me.”
Fardy, who spent the last two weeks in the gym working on his strength and fitness ahead of a key block of fixtures, is set to make his third Leinster appearance when Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh visit the RDS on Friday evening.
And although there are marquee fixtures against Munster and Ulster, as well as the small matter of a Champions Cup debut, on the horizon for Fardy, he insists he’s looking forward to every game as much as the next in his first club season outside Super Rugby.
“I’ve no personal ambitions this season, they’re not really my thing,” he adds. “I just want to play in a good team and win things. I just want the team to win things and anything I can do to help that. Any personal things would involve the team doing well but I’m not looking past Edinburgh.”
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