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Friday 15 December 2017

Wallaby Fardy does it his way

'I'm playing to win trophies': Scott

Leinster’s Scott Fardy during squad training at UCD this week. Pic: Sportsfile
Leinster’s Scott Fardy during squad training at UCD this week. Pic: Sportsfile

Scott Fardy came late to this lark. The man from Sydney spent his early years surfing waves off Newport Beach.

The evidence is right there in the Pterygium on his eye, a condition born out of over-exposure to sun and salt sea.

At the same time, he was chasing the oval ball for his local club Newport Dolphins, later to be renamed the Breakers.

He came from a similar rugby background to Seán O'Brien and Tadhg Furlong.

The bulk of Australian internationals are delivered out of the private schools sector.

"I didn't come through the normal avenues," said the former public schoolboy.

System

"I played a lot of club rugby and worked my way up through the system in that way, an old school journey."

Fardy's story is one of perseverance, inspiration and keeping the dream alive.

He made his way in the game at the Warringah Rats before failing to make the cut at the New South Wales Waratahs in 2006 and 2007 and the Western Force in 2008.

Disillusioned with the game, Fardy moved to Japan to play for Division Two club Kamaishi Seawaves in 2009.

It was a decision that led him to stay for the span of three seasons.

It was there, in a certified rugby outpost, where Fardy rekindled his love of the game under the mentorsing of former All Black Pita Alatini.

In March 2011, an earthquake and a five-metre high Tsunami destroyed half of the fishing village, killing 935 men, women and children. The destruction of people and property made an impact on Fardy, who refused the offer to evacuate by the Australian Embassy.

Instead, in union with other overseas team-mates, he chose to stay on and assist in bringing the place back to life.

"That was difficult for them," said his father Dennis, in 2015.

"But, they did the right thing by staying and I think that is one of the things that has made him what he is."

From there, Fardy returned to a rookie contract with the ACT Brumbies in 2012 and his career immediately took flight.

Fardy made his test debut for The Wallabies against the All Blacks at home in Sydney at the comparatively ripe old age of 29, just four years ago.

Through this transformation the back-five forward's feet have never left the ground and, like Hayden Triggs, he is one of the more rounded men to come to Leinster.

"I wanted to play in the northern hemisphere," he said.

"I've played in Japan and Australia. I wanted to play in and win big games in Europe."

The 33-year-old has been signed as a lock when his best years have been at blindside flanker.

"I played my first two seasons at Brumbies exclusively at lock

"It is a different feel in the game. You've got to play a different way.

"If I do my job well, it is hugely important to the team,"he said.

"As I get older, I don't have to be as quick as when I played six, so I get into the middle of the park and rip into the contact."

The under-stated Fardy has not arrived in Dublin as the next Rocky Elsom, Nathan Hines or Brad Thorn.

"It's what I've already done in my career," he said, about what is expected.

Rubs off

"That's what Leinster want from me, to play like I normally play and play to the best of my abilities, week in, week out.

"I don't think I have to change anything or be like someone I'm not. I just have to play the best I can and, hopefully, that rubs off on other players."

There should be no confusion over Fardy's leadership traits, combining talking the talk with walking the walk.

"I probably talk a lot, but I try to do my fair share as well.

"When I get on the field you can't really shut me up."

The expectations at Leinster to win silverware is not something that will hang too heavily on Fardy.

"Every time I play, I'm playing to win trophies," he said.

"In the past, the Brumbies played a lot of finals and I've played in World Cup finals. I'm always trying to win trophies."

He will do it his way.

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