Hat-trick try hero Fergus McFadden has revealed that Ireland’s second string players were eager to make their mark in front of new coach Joe Schmidt in Saturday’s 40-14 win over Canada in Toronto.
The victory followed an emphatic win over America a week earlier, and McFadden says Schmidt’s presence, in an observation role, made them up their game.
“We said that going out before the game against Canada, whoever had the jersey it would be their last performance until November and we tried to put our hands up for the coaches,” McFadden said.
“We probably got off to a slow-ish start. When Canada come out of the blocks they’re very physical. It probably took us until the 55th, 60th minute to break them down and get a few scores. From a team point of view, I think we improved massively from last week’s win over the United States.
“Personally, to score three tries for your country made it a really memorable day for me.”
Interim coach Les Kiss was more than happy with the two game tour to America and Canada.
He said, “It was a short tour, I think we had five new caps last week, in difficult conditions. The U.S. back row was very hard at the breakdown as was their whole team, and it probably wasn’t managed as well as we would have liked to open up a game we would have liked to flow a bit more.
“I think against Canada we saw that. I thought both teams actually played with an endeavor and an ambition and I thought that was great for the team overall.
“We did make seven changes for the game and had been very proactive in training to build relationships that you do need on the pitch.
“Because the breakdown was a lot cleaner it opened up opportunities, and our boys found the space we were hoping to find last week but it didn’t come as often as we would have liked.
“We had two opportunities where we probably should’ve scored last week and they didn’t come off but overall their intent to keep playing when we were 14-12 down at one stage was encouraging to say the least.”