Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

McFadden ready for Gear test

Fergus McFadden (pictured) is looking forward to getting to grips with Hosea Gear
Fergus McFadden (pictured) is looking forward to getting to grips with Hosea Gear

Ireland winger Fergus McFadden is hoping to add to his try count against New Zealand on Saturday but admits he will have his hands full facing Hosea Gear.

No sooner had the Leinster player negated the threat of Julian Savea, scorer of three tries on debut, than there was a shifting of the plates by the All Blacks. Gear has been in fine form with the Highlanders this season and has utilised his explosive pace when lining up for New Zealand's sevens side.

McFadden said: "Every player poses their own threat and New Zealand back threes are renowned for being explosive and dangerous when given space. Gear will be a new challenge completely and I'm sure he is pretty up for it after getting his chance this week."

Keith Earls, who will be up against Ben Smith on the opposite flank, has described Gear as 'a monster of a man' and expressed his surprise that the 28-year-old has not been selected more than eight times for his country.

McFadden scored a try in the opening Test loss at Eden Park but conceded post-match that he had felt exposed against the lethal pace of Savea. The winger improved in the second Test and believes Ireland can do so again.

He said: "Overall, as a team, we definitely stood up to them better at the breakdown and defensively; only conceding one try.

"Personally, I would have liked to have got my hands on the ball a bit more, but it was a wet night. It was one of those nights for a winger - when you do get your hands on the ball, you have to make it count."

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