Scott Fardy on fire in Eire

Harry Jones Roar Guru

By Harry Jones, Harry Jones is a Roar Guru

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    European Champions Cup favourites and perennial contenders Leinster count on Scott Fardy to lock their scrum, along with Devin Toner.

    The Leinster pack is a Test-quality juggernaut: Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, the towering Toner, Seán O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip, Rhys Ruddock, and Jordi Murphy form an Irish international nucleus.

    But Fardy has been the toast of Dublin’s pubs.

    As the Irish Times put it, after his two-try, two-assist turn in the romp over Glasgow, “Fardy is already a foreign lock to compare to the influence of Nathan Hines and Brad Thorn.”

    In the remarkable win over Ulster the week before, Fardy was all over the pitch, rallying the Leinstermen, and asserting all the battle-hardened nous needed to take them over the line.

    The Dublin team is the bookies’ choice to win the ECC in Bilbao in May. They have a home quarter-final booked already, with a round to play.

    Fardy was a late bloomer in the Wallabies set-up. His debut at age 29 went well, as the best player on the field in an unhappy 2013 Bledisloe Cup match for Australia.

    Perhaps he was overlooked until then because he did not attend the ‘right’ schools in New South Wales. Or because he looks to be first to the ruck, blasting at a surprisingly low height for a 6 foot 6 man, instead of looking for the carry statistics.

    Leinster supporters are used to looking for a lock to create room at the breakdown, win the battle of the shoulders, and grunt out a full 80 minutes.

    The Roar’s own Geoff Parkes predicted the Fardy-Leinster marriage would have the right chemistry in his 2017 book ‘A world in conflict: The battle for rugby supremacy’, writing, “It is another match of attitudes and values; Leinster and Fardy seem perfectly suited.”

    Few Australians could crack this Leinster starting pack. In fact, would even David Pocock get the nod over O’Brien? Yet Fardy has a starting Leinster lock jersey firmly in his grasp, with his dirty work, his clever sledging, and his articulate encouragement.

    In 1000 or so minutes, he’s carried about 100 times to consistently good effect, because he presents the ball well and is no stranger to the offload. He’s also tackled hard over 140 times, and won ten turnovers.

    A determined Scott Fardy wins a lineout

    Scott Fardy in his Wallabies days (Pic: Tim Anger)

    So how can Fardy be one of the best forwards playing in one of the best two or three packs in the world, but not good enough to crack Michael Cheika’s 34-man squad last June?

    Cheika says he wanted to see what Ned Hanigan could do, but surely (as Parkes points out) Hanigan would have benefited from Fardy’s mentorship during his wildly underwhelming apprenticeship.

    More importantly, why did Cheika and Rugby Australia not fight harder to retain Fardy, whose ethos and skill set seem to perfectly fit the national gameplan for 2018-2019? Playing deep into the phases depends heavily on a bully forward in Fardy’s mould.

    He’s not too old either, at Kieran Read’s age. Besides, no team has won the World Cup with an inexperienced pack.

    Is Fardy the kind of grizzled, hard forward that Cheika needed to compensate for a lack of ruck impact by Michael Hooper, or can Hanigan or Jack Dempsey become a younger, faster version of Fardy in time for Japan in 2019?

    Is this all because at Leinster, he can be a fast-ish lock instead of a slow-ish flank?

    In the meantime, Fardy is loved more by strangers than in his home.

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    The Crowd Says (102)

    • Roar Pro

      January 17th 2018 @ 2:59am
      Andrew said | January 17th 2018 @ 2:59am | ! Report

      He’ll be loved even more after Leinster’s 55-19 shellacking of an (albeit weakened) Glasgow on the weekend. Would love to see Fardy win the European Cup.

    • Roar Guru

      January 17th 2018 @ 3:33am
      Harry Jones said | January 17th 2018 @ 3:33am | ! Report

      Watch the highlights of Leinster v Glasgow here: https://youtu.be/o0mkMPWNl4M

      Fardy scores 2 tries; assists in 2 others.

      Most newspapers and websites in Ireland rated him a 9 or 10 that day.

      The only other Aussie starting regularly at a tight forward position in an elite club outside Australia is James Horwill.

      Outstanding player; consistent in his work ethic and attitude.

      • January 17th 2018 @ 4:05pm
        cuw said | January 17th 2018 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

        @ Harry Jones

        the thing with Leinster is they have a plethora of 3rd rowers but lack 2nd rowers.

        i mean Leinster have SOB , Josh van der Flier , Jordi Murphy , Rhys Ruddock , Jamie Heaslip – all who have played test rugger.

        but they only have Devin Toner as a known test 2nd rower. so Fardy was a good buy.

        the fact that Fardy has gotten used to playing 2nd row again after many years at 6 shows his versatility.

        must say he has not always been as good as he was against Glasgow. 🙂

        but the man at Leinster for me is ISA NACEWA – he plays anywhere in the backline and in one match he took up kicking goals after Sexton went off within 10m and landed like 90% (if i recall correct).

        he is a really great player who we saw very little of at test level. a real pity coz even at 35 he is just so effin good.

        • Roar Guru

          January 17th 2018 @ 6:16pm
          Harry Jones said | January 17th 2018 @ 6:16pm | ! Report

          Nacewa is definitely going GREAT!

          Watch Fardy vs Ulster, too. MOTM for me.

        • January 23rd 2018 @ 2:21am
          HenryHoneyBalls said | January 23rd 2018 @ 2:21am | ! Report

          You are right that Leinster don’t have huge reserves at lock however, in James Ryan at lock Leinster have one of the most promising forwards in Irish rugby. Ryan captained Ireland under 20s to the 2016 under 20 RWC final beating NZ along the way and is one of the few Irish players to get a senior international cap before a provincial cap. No mean feat.

          I think Fardy may have been brought in to mentor Ryan who isn’t far off being the finished article but it is a name that you will be hearing more about. That said Fardy has been an excellent signing and a stand out player of the season.

    • January 17th 2018 @ 3:56am
      Sherry said | January 17th 2018 @ 3:56am | ! Report

      Hi Harry. It’s a toss up right now as to who are the two best forwards playing in Europe. Fardy and Tadhg Beirne get a lot of votes. Itoje is playing with a plated jaw and is understandably a mite below his best. Another Aussie doing well in Europe is a guy we could certainly use – Matt Toomua. And Nic White, overlooked in Oz, is doing okay for Exeter. And there’s a bunch of Saffers who are champs over there. Who stands out for you?

      • Roar Guru

        January 17th 2018 @ 5:05am
        Harry Jones said | January 17th 2018 @ 5:05am | ! Report

        Nic Groom, Willle le Roux, Frans Steyn, Jan Serfontein, Paul Jordaan, Nizaam Carr, Ashley Johnson, and Schalk Burger.

        • January 17th 2018 @ 9:10am
          Celtic334 said | January 17th 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          Groom, Le Roux and Steyn have all been playing as well as their national team. Nizaam Carr on the other hand is in the form of his life. Johnson is still a valuable team member and Schalk is still bruising everyone that gets near him.

        • January 17th 2018 @ 4:13pm
          cuw said | January 17th 2018 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

          @ Sherry

          DUDE u forgot VICTOR VITO at La Rochelle – last year’s player of LR and Top 14 !

          @ Harry Jones

          NIZAM CARR has been the best saffa – at Wasps . so much so they want to buy him off Stormers. came in becoz Nathan Hughes got injured and hasnt looked back.

          pity ur coach does not rate him – much better player than Cassiem for eg.

          also Juan de Jongh at wasps is doing well – they call him a glue-player 🙂 just like Serf.

          also sorry for SA – sarries have Michael Rhodes at 6 who aspires to play for England when qualified this year. He just may ….

          • Roar Guru

            January 17th 2018 @ 6:17pm
            Harry Jones said | January 17th 2018 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

            Heyneke rated Nizaam; maybe Rassie will. Rhodes is playing like Fardy…

            • January 17th 2018 @ 6:36pm
              cuw said | January 17th 2018 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

              how long is Carr contracted to stormers.

              wasps are very serios – he has been great for them these few months.

              and they can afford – as they showed buying Sopoaga

      • January 17th 2018 @ 5:50am
        riddler said | January 17th 2018 @ 5:50am | ! Report

        nic white is playing very well for exeter.. he didn’t enjoy france but is loving it at exeter..

        exeter is a club of zero egos.. many would be hard pressed to name 5 of their team..

        but a great coach and a great team ethos.. and proving not be a once off like leicester in the soccer.

        • Roar Guru

          January 17th 2018 @ 6:17pm
          Harry Jones said | January 17th 2018 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

          AGREE

        • January 17th 2018 @ 11:32pm
          FunBus said | January 17th 2018 @ 11:32pm | ! Report

          ‘nic white is playing very well for exeter.. he didn’t enjoy france but is loving it at exeter..’

          Slightly disagree about White’s form. I’ve seen him have a couple of shockers for Exeter this year. There’s also a couple of very exciting kids coming through there so I’m not sure how long he’ll last.

          Fardy’s been excellent, but then again Fardy is an excellent player. Never liked seeing him line-up against England, and it’s another baffling selection decision by Cheika.

          • January 18th 2018 @ 8:02am
            Chronicle said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:02am | ! Report

            White has started in all but 2 of current English champions Exeters premiership games and all their Champions Cup games. Strangely labelled just a kicker ( has a huge right boot) in Australia now playing with the club that plays the most ball in hand style of rugby in Europe whose speed to the ruck and accuracy of pass has seen him labelled the “buy of the season” in English rugby press whilst his defensive work is the highest of any current halfback at the elite level. His game in the 41-10 win over former club Montpellier was excellent and doesn’t show any indication of not lasting.
            Along with Fardy another “not required” by the Michael Cheika Wallabies.

        • January 18th 2018 @ 3:17pm
          cuw said | January 18th 2018 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

          @ riddler

          ” exeter is a club of zero egos.. many would be hard pressed to name 5 of their team.. ”

          NOT really , if u follow aviva and the better clubs

          one could start with the auzzies – Dave Dennis , Julien Salvi , Nik white , Lauchie Turner

          then they have Thomas the tank Waldrom also Don Armand

          then the english backs – Henry Slade and Jack Novell

          any more known names i missed?

          😀

      • January 18th 2018 @ 12:04am
        FunBus said | January 18th 2018 @ 12:04am | ! Report

        ‘It’s a toss up right now as to who are the two best forwards playing in Europe.’

        Important to differentiate who are currently in the best form and who the ‘best forwards in Europe’ are. I would tentatively suggest that most people picking their best pack, in general, from the British Isles (including Ireland), wouldn’t have any of the foreign imports in the eight.

    • Columnist

      January 17th 2018 @ 4:44am
      Nicholas Bishop said | January 17th 2018 @ 4:44am | ! Report

      Scott Fardy has turned out very well for Leinster H.

      In the conversations I had, the choice came down to him or another second row (an All Black). No higher compliment can be made than to say that Fardy has turned out to be a perfect choice.

      • Roar Guru

        January 17th 2018 @ 5:09am
        Harry Jones said | January 17th 2018 @ 5:09am | ! Report

        Cheers, LacoNick!

        Yes, it’s lovely to see Fardy grinning and pumping his fists as he sets up teammates to score.

        He’s exactly what the doctor ordered.

        • Roar Guru

          January 17th 2018 @ 1:34pm
          Poth Ale said | January 17th 2018 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

          Jeez Harry, you thinking of joining us in the blue corner?

          Fardy would be my top performing furriner in Ireland this season. (What’s with the Éire business in the title, btw? Looks very odd. Everyone says Ireland.)

          Fardy is quite rightly being considered in top pantheon of foreign players over the years here. Elsom, Thorn, Howlett, Pienaar, etc. With the way development is moving in Ireland, he’s becoming somewhat of a rare species with very few notable capped players in the provincial ranks. I can’t see how he wouldn’t be an asset to the Wallaby squad. And a good time to find out would be in the November tours when Cheika could call on his services.

          My Top 8 currently.

          1. Scott Fardy
          2. Isa Nacewa
          3. Christian Lealiifano
          4. Chris Cloete
          5. CJ Stander
          6. Jean Kleyn
          7. Bundee Aki
          8. Alex Wootton

          • January 17th 2018 @ 1:46pm
            Fionn said | January 17th 2018 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

            But Poth, neither Scott Fardy or Christian Lealiifano are good enough for the Wallabies!

            Dean Mumm, Ned Hanigan, Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale are clearly far superior players.

          • January 17th 2018 @ 1:54pm
            Fionn said | January 17th 2018 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

            Also, I feel like Leinster will win either the European Cup or the Pro 14. Scarlets looking deadly also.

            • Roar Guru

              January 17th 2018 @ 2:08pm
              Poth Ale said | January 17th 2018 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

              Hi Fionn – Have you seen much of Jacob Stockdale at Ulster, Tadgh Beirne at Scarlets, Jordan Larmour at Leinster or Alex Wootton at Munster?

              • January 17th 2018 @ 2:13pm
                Fionn said | January 17th 2018 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

                Seen a bit of Stockdale. He looks like he could be extremely good.

              • January 17th 2018 @ 4:21pm
                cuw said | January 17th 2018 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

                Jordan Larmour was very good in the Glasgow match. looked like he has natural pace.

                Jacob Stockdale is talked of at Ulster, but in the match i watched he was not that prominent.

                one issue with these matches is quite a few overlap so one has to choose .

              • January 18th 2018 @ 3:45pm
                cuw said | January 18th 2018 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

                Jordan Larmour is in the Irish squad now !!

          • Roar Guru

            January 17th 2018 @ 6:18pm
            Harry Jones said | January 17th 2018 @ 6:18pm | ! Report

            MY title was only “Fardy on Fire”

            Editors found a rhyme!

            • Columnist

              January 17th 2018 @ 6:39pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | January 17th 2018 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

              Ah one of those rhymes … that doesn’t rhyme 😀

          • January 17th 2018 @ 9:54pm
            Taylorman said | January 17th 2018 @ 9:54pm | ! Report

            I’d give you my top 8 furriners here Pot, but sadly, we don’t have that many👌

            • January 17th 2018 @ 11:38pm
              FunBus said | January 17th 2018 @ 11:38pm | ! Report

              Great, then you can ‘play with yourself’ T-man – no pun intended, of course.

              The rest of us have the benefit of seeing our international players playing with and against each other and some quality foreign players as well. Strangely, enough, people seem to be moaning about SR in NZ, while there’s a real upbeat mood about rugby in the NH.

              But, I’m sure you guys have got it right.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 2:46pm
                Taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

                Who said we had it right? NZ have it right, the competition doesn’t. And yes, they’re loving it there. They wouldn’t be without the southerners that’s for sure.

    • January 17th 2018 @ 5:18am
      Sherry said | January 17th 2018 @ 5:18am | ! Report

      Le Roux has to be the FB for the Boks. His positional play and his running are damn good. Enjoying the bulky Ashley, Nizaam Carr is a takeover guy, and Schalk is going great guns when he isn’t giving up PTs. Your gonna have a great squad for Tokyo.

      • Roar Guru

        January 17th 2018 @ 6:19pm
        Harry Jones said | January 17th 2018 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

        WLR was key in the 2013-2014 High scoring of the Boks

    • January 17th 2018 @ 6:24am
      Train Without A Station said | January 17th 2018 @ 6:24am | ! Report

      Harry, great to show how a player unwanted by Cheika is shining still.

      Is there any need for the typical comments like “maybe he was overlooked because he didn’t go to the right school” though?

      Especially considering how way off the mark the comment is. He was just a late bloomer. Played in the 2007 ARC, was in the Force set up but was never able to show enough there to get a chance on the field at the time.

      • Roar Guru

        January 17th 2018 @ 9:07am
        Harry Jones said | January 17th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        Thanks. TWAS.

        I saw Fardy himself advance that theory (about the school he went to).

        • January 18th 2018 @ 11:17pm
          Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | January 18th 2018 @ 11:17pm | ! Report

          Harry, I am not so sure how accurate this is about Fardy’s school history.
          Speaking to his Dad once, he told me that despite public schooling he was picked in the OZ Schollboy side, only to break his leg in a club game the week before touring. It seems that that event sent his career on a different trajectory, leading him overseas but eventually back to the Brumbies, then the Wallabies.
          I am one of those scratching their head at Cheika’s omission of him last year after he served his country so gallantly every time he was asked.
          His Irish actions and the compliments of them raise eloquent questions that Cheika is yet to answer.

      • January 17th 2018 @ 9:33am
        bluffboy said | January 17th 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        Maybe Harry shouldn’t have mentioned schools as that is just an opinion, its way better not say anything about it, like that black sheep uncle. But the old boy system is alive and well in Wallatah’s, IMO.

        • Roar Guru

          January 17th 2018 @ 10:01pm
          Harry Jones said | January 17th 2018 @ 10:01pm | ! Report

          TWAS:

          Here’s the quote from the Irish Times:

          “I didn’t come through the normal avenues in Australia; I was a public school boy not a private schoolboy. Just played a lot of club rugby and worked my way up through the system in that way. Bit of an old school journey. Been around for a while now . . .The vast majority of professional players in Australia are still from the private school system – maybe that’s the best place for talent, I’m not sure but that’s for another day.”

          • January 21st 2018 @ 1:10pm
            Train Without A Station said | January 21st 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

            Doesn’t seem to even imply that he felt he was prejudiced against because of where he went to school.

            Do you understand what I was getting at in my comment though?

            He was in pro systems 5 years before he made his mark at the Brumbies.

            Public schooling was not enough to prejudice him getting a contract opportunity but then they didn’t play him because he was from a public school?

            • Roar Guru

              January 23rd 2018 @ 2:39am
              Harry Jones said | January 23rd 2018 @ 2:39am | ! Report

              I understand your point, TWAS.

              The context for Fardy’s comment was, however, why it took him so long to break through at the top level.

              He wasn’t whining or accusing; just making a point about pathways?

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