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Thursday 23 October 2014

McFadden set Fer' new deal

LEINSTER centre Fergus McFadden is on the brink of signing a two-year contract extension.

The Ireland centre-wing enhanced his reputation internationally with two colossal performances against Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup.

It is believed McFadden turned down four English Premiership clubs, as well as interest from further afield, to stay true to his roots at Leinster and his ambition to add to his 16 caps for Ireland.

This, in part, must be down to the shelf life of Brian O'Driscoll, 33, and Gordon D'Arcy, 32. Not even they can go on forever.

At present, McFadden is going through the process of dealing with European disappointment and moving on to make ready for the PRO12 League assignment at Ulster.

"It was gutting to lose like that in The Aviva. It was the first time we lost in The Aviva. We have to move on quickly for Friday," he said.

It must have come as a hammer blow to see Ulster's Craig Gilroy parachuted straight into the Ireland side against Argentina in November, moving him further back down the pecking order for Declan Kidney.

"I was pretty disappointed when that selection didn't go my way. But, that is the nature of what we do. Wherever I play, in the centre or on the wing, I will be looking to put in the best performance I can in a Leinster shirt to get the win we need," he said, diplomatically.

Ulster's first defeat of the season at home to Northampton in the Heineken Cup will ensure they are revved up for Friday night.

That doesn't bother McFadden: "The more clubs that are still interested in fighting it out in the last two rounds of the Heineken Cup, the more points will be dropped. It makes it better for us.

"I thought it was good for us, in the overall picture, that Northampton Saints beat Ulster up in Ravenhill even though it certainly won't make it any easier for us this week."

Leinster will expect a motivated Ulster without Johann Muller or Tommy Bowe, out to confirm their league-leading status, not one bent on rebound or revenge.

"Ulster were unbeaten in Europe and the PRO12 League until last weekend. They only got beaten by a point and missed a kick to win it in the end," said McFadden.

Depth

"They've got a lot better since last year. That is pretty clear. The players they've brought in, like Roger Wilson, Nick Williams and Tommy Bowe, although he is injured, have made a difference to their depth."

It looks like Gilroy and Andrew Trimble will be stationed on the wings by Ulster coach Mark Anscombe in what should be a potent looking back three with Jared Payne.

There is less certainty over McFadden's position as Gordon D'Arcy could be in line for a rest, while Andrew Conway and Fionn Carr are thought to be in contention for the wings. The combative nature of McFadden indicates he would love nothing more than to go head-to-head with Gilroy

"It is another big game. We are going to have to put everything into it."

McFadden knows no other way.

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