IRELAND WINGER FERGUS MCFADDEN believes the 53-0 win over Fiji on Saturday can act as ‘a springboard’ to propel the side to victory against Argentina next Saturday.
McFadden scored a try in each half at Thomond Park and mucked in with the forwards as the visitors pressed for a consolation try late on in a game that was comfortably won.
“We just needed to start learning how to win again,” he said.
“The performances never seemed to be a problem but when we’ve been coming together for the past year we just seem to be getting nipped.
“Obviously we got beaten heavily in our last match against New Zealand but in a lot of matches we’ve been beaten by three points or so. That’s a mindset [issue] at times.
“Hopefully the win today will be a real positive. Not allowing a try was great as well.”
McFadden was on the replacements bench for the loss to South Africa but is confident that he has done enough to force his way into the reckoning for a starting role on the left wing or at centre.
He commented, “With the couple of opportunities I got, I felt I finished them well. There were a couple of things I felt I could have done better but I’m sure everyone can say that. I was happy to get my hand on a bit of ball.
There was a stage when I was thinking that I might not see much ball as it was a bit greasy out there but there were a couple of openings and I stuck my head down and got there.
The Kildare native cited the promotion of Jonny Sexton to a starting role against the Springboks in 2009 as a reason to be hopeful, on Thursday, when Declan Kidney names the side to play Argentina.
“He scored a try, got a lot of points and was selected the following week. Going by that, hopefully Declan will see that a couple of us put our hands up and he might make some changes.”
McFadden also highlighted the performances of Paddy Jackson – a man that has ‘steered the ship’ at unbeaten Ulster this season – and hat-trick hero Craig Gilroy.
“For Craig’s last try,” he revealed, “I thought he was going to get scragged and I was on his shoulder. I was nearly hoping to get in for the hat-trick myself. I was delighted for him.
In fairness to Craig, he’s a great player and he hasn’t been getting a whole lot of time because of Andrew and Tommy up north. There’s not that many other sides that he wouldn’t start for.”
McFadden is already looking ahead to the tough challenge set to be posed by Argentina at the Aviva Stadium.
He said, “They’re a really, really tough Test team and if we’re not at 90% next week, we won’t be them. They really strangle the hell out of teams.”
“Only leaking one try in two games was brilliant,” he added. “If we can keep that attitude going into the Argentina game I think we can beat them.”