All Set to Pass the Big Test; Macfadyen Determined to Lay His Demons to Rest and Prove He Is Man Enough to Take on the Aussies

Daily Mail (London), June 10, 2004 | Go to article overview

All Set to Pass the Big Test; Macfadyen Determined to Lay His Demons to Rest and Prove He Is Man Enough to Take on the Aussies


Byline: NIALL AITCHESON

From NIALL AITCHESON in Sydney

DONNIE MACFADYEN yesterday put his World Cup heartache behind him and vowed to make up for lost time with Scotland - with victory over the Wallabies in Melbourne top of his agenda.

The 24-year- old Glasgow openside flanker came in from the cold last Friday to play a key role as Samoa were eclipsed 38- 3 in Wellington. His first cap in two years provided some consolation for the agony of missing out on Scotland's last visit Down Under.

However, it is doubtful he will rest easy until he crosses the whitewash at Telstra Dome in Sunday's first Test. Only then will he be able to lay his inner demons to rest once and for all.

Macfadyen, a former Scotland Under-21 captain and the Scottish Mail on Sunday Young Player of the Year in 2000, has shown immense strength of character since suffering a devastating triple blow to his self-esteem last year.

He missed the first half of the year with a broken foot and, by September, had returned to the Glasgow line-up. But he was not deemed ready for inclusion in McGeechan's World Cup squad.

When Andy Mower, the only other specialist No. 7 available to Scotland, wrecked his knee in a trainin gground accident days before the opening Pool B clash with Japan, Macfadyen thought his own luck had changed for the better.

He was wrong. Instead of packing his bags for Australia, he was forced to look on in frustration as Warriors team-mate Cameron Mather was called up instead.

'It was obviously frustrating,' Macfadyen said. 'I was playing No.7 for Glasgow and Cammy was playing No.6. I spoke to other players, but there was nothing I could have done differently other than to try my best and try to improve all the time.

'Missing out on the World Cup was the biggest disappointment I've had.

'On this tour, I've been rooming with guys like Andy Henderson. They have showed me their photos from Australia last year and they had a fantastic experience.

Hopefully, I will still be around when the next World Cup comes by.'

The Macfadyen of today is virtually unrecognisable from the one that won two caps in North America in 2002 before vanishing off the international radar.

Three kilogrammes of muscle have since been added to his upper body to transform him, both physically and mentally, as a player.

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