Fardy’s focus on contributing to cause in Celtic Park cauldron
Leinster’s Australian eager to swap watching hurling for playing rugby in soccer cathedral
Scott Fardy (right) with Leinster clubmate Cian Healy and Munster’s Conor Murray (left) at the RDS last weekend. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Scott Fardy takes a philosophical view of Leinster’s rotation policy. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho
The photograph of Scott Fardy at the Leinster Hurling Championship round robin match between Dublin and Wexford prompted an initial barrage of questions as he sat down to discuss Leinster’s Pro14 final against the Glasgow Warriors at Celtic Park on Saturday (6.30).
The Australian’s allegiance was clearly defined by the Wexford tracksuit top he sported, although that, like his presence at Parnell Park, was subtlety manipulated by an outside agency in the form of teammate Tadhg Furlong, also in attendance, along with another bastion of the frontrow, Jack McGrath.
Fardy was asked if Furlong had bought him the top, drawing laughter with his response. “He (Furlong) doesn’t buy much. He got me that jacket a while ago. He had promised to take me a while ago but we couldn’t get down to Wexford; the game being where it was meant it was nice and close so we headed over.
“Yeah, it was a good day, a nice day for it. I had been to a match before and enjoyed it. They are great athletes and they have an amazing skill level so it is always a good, entertaining watch.”
His previous acquaintance with hurling was last year’s All-Ireland semi-final between Galway and Clare at Croke Park. The GAA might want to put Fardy on commission because on both occasions the games ended in a draw.
The Australian continued: “I can appreciate the skill level, I just can’t believe Tadhgie (Furlong) used to run around with them. That’s what I can’t believe, to be fair. He’s got nicknames for all the lads. He’s just yelling out their names. I love the crowd; I love how passionate they are about the game. It was the same when I went to Croke Park with guys screaming out. I enjoyed that.”
Fardy, a Liverpool fan, is relishing the opportunity to play in yet another Champions League football ground at Parkhead on Saturday, having previously played Champions Cup finals in Bilbao and Newcastle. He ventured: “There have been a few Aussies have played for Celtic in the past. Mark Viduka played and Tommy Rogic is there now. It’s obviously a famous football ground and I was saying the other day how I’ve played in a few of them now. I played in Newcastle last week and in Bilbao last year. They are great stadiums, the crowd is right on top of you and it makes for a great atmosphere.”
It was then pointed out that he had probably played in more Champions League grounds than Australian soccer players to which he replied: “Harry Kewell won one, mate. He came off early but he played.”
Leinster’s New Zealand-born scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park becomes Irish-qualified next month under the three-year residency rule, bringing to an end to a process whereby one of Gibson-Park, Fardy and James Lowe would have to sit out some big games for the province.
Fardy took a philosophical view of the rotation policy. “No it is not tough to take because we used 56/57 players so far and there are 34 or 33 players not being used each week but they contributed to the year. I played 40 minutes at the weekend (against Munster) so I was able to contribute in some way.
“You can’t complain when you are on the bench because you are still part of the squad that week. There are a lot of guys not playing this week who have put in a huge amount of effort to put us where we are now, to put us in the home semi-final.
“There are guys who have played nearly every game in the Pro14 and more than likely won’t run out this week. So you never complain about what part you play in a game, you have just got to make sure you have to do your best every week.
“No one treats me like an overseas player here. I’m just one of the squad, I feel. I don’t feel different to anyone else here. If someone is playing better than me, they get picked ahead of me. That’s the way it is. I think that’s the case when you play here.”
The absence of an injured Devin Toner means that James Ryan will take over calling the lineout on Saturday with Fardy offering his input from time to time irrespective of who was calling the shots. The game against the Warriors means that he will come up against a familiar face in Glasgow coach Dave Rennie, who coached the Chiefs when the Australian was at the Brumbies.
Aside from playing good rugby Rennie’s sides are tough and abrasive, traits that he has encouraged and nurtured in Glasgow. Fardy said: “Definitely, they are very aggressive. They play on the edge. It is going to be a tough game this weekend.”