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Ever-Present Fanning Enjoys Winning Cup Debut

Ever-Present Fanning Enjoys Winning Cup Debut

Despite Leinster at one stage trailing Wasps by 12 points at the RDS on Sunday, Darragh Fanning says he never felt worried and that if the team stuck to their game-plan then they would get the result.

He was right, and the St. Mary’s College clubman played a large part in securing that 25-20 win with two tries on his European debut.

Speaking after the match, Fanning said he felt confident in the team and knew that they could open the new European campaign with a win despite Wasps’ 20-11 half-time lead.

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“No matter the score I’ve always felt confident in the team – we always know we have more in the tank. I was never worried out there,” he said.

“I don’t think any of the team panicked – we knew there was a big wind, we knew they got two very lucky tries and we knew that if we just stuck to our process that eventually we’d just get the rewards and that’s what happened in the second half.”

The 28-year-old winger has played ever single minute of Leinster’s seven competitive matches to date this season. A strong start to the year has seen the him score three tries, including one against Munster at the Aviva Stadium recently.

“I got a full pre-season, which I didn’t get last year – pre-season last year was about two weeks. Obviously I’ve got a lot of chances, I know there are a few injuries, but it’s great getting game-time,” admitted Fanning.

“I’m just loving getting as many minutes as I can at the moment. The tries are nice but there’s definitely stuff I have to work on from that game – a few small mistakes, a few things I can still definitely work on. But it’s always nice to get a couple of tries.”

His efforts drew praise from Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor who commented afterwards: “(Darragh) did a great job for us last year and he’s getting better and better the longer he spends in the environment.

“He works really hard off the field and I think he’s starting to be very, very comfortable at this level. He was good for us tonight and he’s been good for us all season.”

The Dubliner will be hoping to continue his run of starting (and finishing) every game for Leinster this term when the team travel to France to face Castres next Sunday.

With away wins especially difficult to obtain in Europe, and having faced Castres in last season’s Heineken Cup, Fanning says the squad know the tough task that awaits them.

“We saw last year how tough they were over there and it’s going to be the same again. Watching the rugby yesterday (Saturday), I think Munster were the only team to win away.

“Being at home is a massive advantage in Europe and it’s going to be tough for us next week. We need another big week this week. We’ll regroup on Tuesday, go through the Castres stuff and go from there.”