McFadden ready for Medard
Ireland winger Fergus McFadden eagerly awaits his duel with French flyer Maxime Medard in Sunday's Six Nations clash at Aviva Stadium.
By Scott Mathie
Last Updated: 11/02/11 1:40pm
Ireland winger Fergus McFadden eagerly awaits his duel with French flyer Maxime Medard in Sunday's RBS Six Nations clash at Aviva Stadium.
After making his debut against Italy last week, the converted Leinster centre is in for a challenging afternoon as he prepares to go head-to-head with the dangerous Toulouse winger.
"Medard's very quick and he can also play full-back as well," he said.
"It's really exciting for me to be marking him. I know he's a good player, I've watched him a lot with Toulouse."
Medard's threat was evident in his team's opening Six Nations match against Scotland. The winger crossed for the opening try of the game, in what proved to be an emphatic 34-21 victory for France.
McFadden added: "Overall France have got a wealth of experience and talent in the back three. There's a few people - Vincent Clerc and the like - not getting into the team, so they're not struggling for talent in that area of the pitch.
"We've done a lot of vision over the last few days and I thought Scotland did well to hang in there.
"They turned over the ball three or four times and France just punished them. So we're going to be aware this week that we can't afford to turn over the ball like we did against Italy or we're going to be punished.
"They've got these open-field runners who can score tries from nothing against the best teams."
At the start of last year, McFadden was questioning whether he would still be a Leinster player come the end of the season, especially as the mainstay partnership of Gordon D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll seemed impossible to disrupt.
However with Leinster coach Joe Schmidt wanting his best players on the pitch, he was accommodated on the wing where he has flourished since.
McFadden now finds himself on the outside of Ireland's most successful centre pairing, and if O'Driscoll's pass was a better one, he would have earned himself a try on debut against Italy.
"Thankfully we could laugh about it afterwards. Obviously, it was so unlike Brian to throw it a bit high," he said.
"Brian said to me afterwards, 'Jeez, I'm sorry for butchering the pass that could have given you a try on your debut'.
Saturday's 13-11 victory over Italy gave him his first taste of international rugby, which has wet his appetite for more.
"Making my debut was an unbelievable experience but I would have liked to have got my hands on the ball a little more. Fingers crossed, this week will be different."
"I was happy with a solid performance. International rugby is at a completely different level."
"I felt like I was solid and did everything I needed to. But I know I could have had a try on my debut, which would have been a dream come true."