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Scott Fardy on life at Connacht: ‘It’s a tough place, a rugged place. It’s different country’

Former Leinster forward is loving life in Galway after making the move from playing to coaching

Connacht defence coach Scott Fardy is learning the western way. From winning European and URC titles as a player with Leinster, the 39-year-old former Australian international is now beyond the pale, embedded in Galway and challenged by both weather and his conversion from player to coach.

“It’s a tough place, a rugged place. It’s different country,” he says of Galway. “When you’re on the east, you live in bloody Ballsbridge and it’s totally different country. It’s a different experience for me coming to this side, different people.

‘It’s great to experience both. Living in Dublin, playing for Leinster and now coming over to see how things are done here, how the community operates. There’s an amazing amount of rugby clubs and support here in the west of Ireland that I probably wasn’t as aware of when I was in Dublin.”

And after 10 months at Dexcom Stadium, Fardy is enjoying his coaching apprenticeship.


“As a player, there’s a lot of stuff that goes in your head. As a coach, you’ve got to simplify everything again. That’s the challenge. I’ve been coached by guys who are former players and they’re trying to deliver that to you, and it’s such a different thing. Sometimes the best coaches are schoolteachers because they’re better at delivering the messages as simple as can be.

“I get great feedback from coaches, great support as a coach here, the same as when I was a player here. The players are well looked after, the coaches are well looked after, and I think that’s the recipe for the success they’ve had for the last decade really.”

And while Fardy may not be enamoured of the west’s weather, he has grown to appreciate Connacht Rugby’s home and its fans.

“I think we’ve got one more game with the Clan stand there, which you don’t think about – all the players who have played in front of it, all the fans who have stood in there.

“I know it’s not the most beautiful stand in world rugby, but people have had a good time in there and seen some big games and had some special moments. It’s almost sad to see it go in that way.”

Fardy says listening to the crowd singing The Fields of Athenry when the team is in front at the end of the game, is “spine-tingling stuff”.

“There’s a special kind of thing happening with the new ground, but you also have to make peace with the past. It’s great to see the province moving on. You look at the other grounds in Munster, Ulster, and Leinster – they probably have far superior facilities, so hopefully we can get to the point where we can generate revenue, have bigger crowds, and a big atmosphere here. Hopefully, it’s as nice as the atmosphere that has been here because it’s been pretty good.”

This weekend Connacht head to Rodney Parade to face the Dragons, who along with Zebre are propping up the URC table. However, Fardy says there is no complacency in a competitive Connacht squad.

“The best thing to guard against complacency is the other guys who miss out on selection. They’ve got to go out and play well, because if you don’t someone will take the jersey off them for the Munster game. Understanding you’ve got to play well to keep the jersey is really important.”

Despite Dragons having registered only three victories from 14, Fardy says is important to “take away their crowd, making sure we’re focused away from home, get a fast start, be accurate in what we do, and don’t give them entry into the game.

“They’re a good side with a good maul, they’re good defenders, always make it a tough game. Teams take a while to get into the game there and score because Dragons always seem to start well and be physically up for the game.”

Bundee Aki’s return to play has been a real boost for Connacht, but other players also need to respond says Fardy.

“The closer you get to finals, the more your senior players step up. He [Aki] is obviously our most senior player, but there’s other guys in the room there who need to step up and take charge of the team when you’re playing in finals and trying to close out the games, do or die games, it’s important those guys stand up for you.”