Friday 22 February 2019

Fardy eager to extend his contract with champions

Fanbase: Scott Fardy during the Leinster homecoming in Energia Park yesterday
Fanbase: Scott Fardy during the Leinster homecoming in Energia Park yesterday

Leinster has always benefited from positive overseas influence.

There have been the coaches, Matt Williams, Michael Cheika, Joe Schmidt, Matt O'Connor and Stuart Lancaster.

There have been the players too that have proded improvements due to how they prepared and how they performed.

In relation to Europe, there was Rocky Elsom for one year in 2009. There was Nathan Hines for two years up to 2011. There was Brad Thorn on a short-term contract in 2012.

The Wallaby Elsom was a combustible carrying flanker.

Scotland's Hines, an old-style enforcer and All Black Thorn a physical powerhousehe, were out-and-out second rows for Leinster.

Scott Fardy, signed as a second row, has been serving at six for the knockout part of the Champions Cup.

It is the Wallaby's experience that has been used to accelerate the growth of some of the young men coming out of The Academy.

The euphoria of a fourth star in Europe can easily enable a loss of focus on the Munster train that will be steaming straight for Leinster.

This is the time when managing expectations becomes a bedrock of the week leading into the PRO14 League semi-final at the RDS on Saturday.

The nine-month club season all comes down to these three weeks, when Leinster will end with one or two trophies.

The hectic nature of the club calendar loads everything on the line in May.

"It is strange, I think. It is just a sign of being a good pro, putting on another good performance after a disruptive week, playing in a very emotional event.

"Winning is a key focus for the group and the PRO14 is part of it too. We have to be ready to go on Saturday.

"I think we played in front of over 150,000 in the last three games in Europe."

Even Fardy is feeling the wave of emotion that comes with winning, something that the Brumbies could never quite crack in six seasons of Super Rugby.

Signed last summer, the 33-year-old is already looking beyond his two-year contract.

The adaptable international has been an integral part of what Leinster have already achieved this season.

It says everything about Fardy's reliability that he has played 1,485 minutes for Leinster this term.

This advertises his durability by playing more minutes than every other man on the long roster.

It is just one minute more than out-half Ross Byrne (1,484).

The durability factor is one of the strongest reasons why contract are given to homegrown or import players.

"We will see what happens with that," he responded.

"There are a lot of things that have to happen, with it being a centralised contract system.

"It is completely out of my control. I am enjoying it here in Dublin.

"I would like to stay, if I could. We will see what happens."

Through all of those who have come and gone, Isa Nacewa has been the overseas constant, except for a two-year hiatus. The club captain picked up his fourth European trophy on Saturday evening, fifth when counting the Challenge Cup back in 2013.

He recognised the value of the "sacrifice" the players and their loved ones are willing to make as right at the centre of their success.

"It is not about the fifth star. It is about chasing after number ten in reality," he said.

"With the average age of some of the leaders that are going to be here, it is going to be a phenomenal time to be watching Leinster rugby."

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