herald

Thursday 17 August 2017

Sexton is key for Leinster

McFadden thinks fly-half can boost Blues after woe in west

Leinster’s Fergus McFadden during a press conference. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster’s Fergus McFadden during a press conference. Photo: Sportsfile

Jonathan Sexton was the catalyst behind Ireland's positive finish to the Six Nations.

The out-half will be expected to turn the corner into leading Leinster to silverware at the business end of the PRO12 League.

He can best do this by giving certainty to those around him because uncertainty is fast-followed by confusion and indecision.

"Yeah, I think he just kind of drove Ireland around the pitch," said Fergus McFadden.

Direction

"He gave the guys a nice bit of direction of where they were going and sometimes that's all a team needs.

"When you've got quality players, if you've got the likes of Johnny guiding you, it makes it a lot easier.

"I was delighted to see him come back to form after getting a bit of flak at the start of the season.

"Hopefully, he can bring that Irish form when he's wearing a Leinster jersey now."

McFadden would not entertain the easy-out open to coach Leo Cullen in having to assimilate so many internationals back into the Leinster programme.

"That's not really an excuse and it wouldn't be one that we'd be looking for," he said.

"The coaching staff here have always expressed how delighted they are with the guys going away to camp.

"Ideally, they want to push us in a position where we can play at test level."

Instead, McFadden views the movement up and down the chain of playing command as a reason for Leinster to be better.

"I just think we can use it to our advantage," he said.

"When you're playing at a faster and higher intensity, once we get all those guys back in the groove with Leinster, hopefully it can be a positive for us."

Connacht had a lot to do with the fact Leinster couldn't overcome the weather and the transfer of Pat Lam's coaching to the atmospheric Sportsground.

"We're definitely hurting as a group, he admitted.

"Losing an Inter-pro derby at any stage of the season isn't easy."

Munster will be next on an agenda that doesn't leave much to the imagination. The final four rounds are up for argument.

Threat

"I think Munster pose a different threat.

"They've been in a great vein of form and they've been scoring a lot of tries lately."

Leinster will come at this one as a collective dealing with the hurt from Galway.

Munster will enter the Aviva Stadium, where they scalped Leinster last season, with the confidence from crushing Zebre for seven tries. Which is the better road into delivering a performance?

"I'd say definitely confident from a win. Obviously, we'd love to be in that position from last week, but unfortunately we're not. Munster will have their tails up.

"We'll be wary of that."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News