Fainga’a fired up for Irish relegation fight
FIT-again London Irish hooker Saia Fainga’a is ready to take the Premiership by storm as the Exiles look to fight their way out of relegation trouble.
Thirty-six cap former Wallabies star Fainga’a has been dogged by injury since arriving from the Brumbies in August, but is determined to bring his vast experience to bear.
Fainga’a, a Super Rugby winner with Queensland Reds in 2011, told The
Rugby Paper: “I’m coming back into the squad with the attitude of winning.
“No one wants to be bottom. When I joined the Reds in 2009 we were last, but two years later we were champions and that’s the experience I bring.
“I know about rebuilding teams and how to be a success. That was one of the big reasons Irish got me here and while I’ve been contributing off the field, now I can help on the field and the substance in this team is there to do really well.
“We’ve come close against teams like Leicester, Bath and Wasps so we’ve got the foundations to be successful; we just need to bring it to fruition with a couple of big wins now and I’m sure we can finish in the middle of the table.”
On his reasons for heading north, Fainga’a explained: “I needed to break the cycle. I’ve been a professional since I was 17 and didn’t know anything other than Super Rugby, so with having a young family now it made sense to step away.
“Between Super Rugby and the Wallabies, travelling to South Africa, Argentina, Japan and Europe meant being away from home up to three months each year, so it’s time to repay my wife and kids by settling in one place for a bit.
“Hopefully, I can play good rugby and, like we did at the Reds, take advantage of this chance by helping Irish to do something special.”
Meanwhile, Australia’s recent beatings at the hands of England and Scotland have failed to dampen Fainga’a’s belief that they can still be a World Cup threat.
He said: “They’re bringing a lot of good young guys through.
“Is Michael Cheika the right man as head coach? I believe he’s doing a great job and we’re starting to build a bit of depth again.
“Stephen Larkham’s on the payroll and you’ve seen his development as a coach with the Brumbies.
“He’s a formidable person to be reckoned with and that will hold Australia in good stead for the World Cup.
“Come 2019, I’m sure we’ll be ready to challenge again.”
Defiant: Saia Fainga’a