Rugby World Cup
Scott Fardy is Ringo Starr of Wallabies' Rugby World Cup back-row
Sam Bruce
October 14, 2015
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Scott Fardy is the Ringo Starr of the star-studded Wallabies back-row, so it's probably little wonder that he has been playing the house down in London. The forgotten man of Australia's back-row band has been in spectacular form during the Rugby World Cup only to be overshadowed by the deeds of David Pocock and Michael Hooper as well as the new kid on the block, Sean McMahon.

Fardy's high work-rate and solid all-round game fail to generate the consistent headlines of Pocock's breakdown heroics and maul mastery, or Hooper's power-running and turnover ability; but his class was there to be seen at the weekend when the star duo were missing in action - Pocock injured and Hooper suspended - and it wasn't lost on the British media.

"And don't forget [Ben] McCalman, who was excellent on the weekend," Fardy was quick to point out when asked about Australia's back-row depth. "Yeah, it's important that we're pushing each other and I think it's quite a good kind of unit we've got going there; good squad depth in those positions, and we always have in Australian rugby.

"I think we've always got good No.7s around, and you've seen guys like McCalman and McMahon as well, around the edges, who are pushing us to be better. So it's a challenge every day at training, and it's something that we're all really enjoying."

Scott Fardy is happiest in the shadows. © Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Can Scotland upset the odds?

Fardy was at his absolute best in the win over Wales, the Brumbies back-rower forcing two turnovers to top that count and finishing second behind only Kane Douglas for tackles (13). He had a similarly good game against England but his efforts were overshadowed by Pocock's three turnovers and Hooper's 10 tackles. Not that it worries the 31-year-old late-bloomer.

"Maybe people will write more about me but I'm not really interested in it; I prefer to be in the shadows to be honest," Fardy said about the plaudits that followed his game against the Welsh. "I'm just here to help out the other guys who are really good performers, your Hoopers and your Pococks and the Douglas's; so hopefully I just help them be better players and do the little things to help them perform to what they can. I guess that's my role in the side and hopefully I can help them out."

Fardy's humanitarian efforts following the 2011 tsunami in Japan were a hot topic for the small contingent of British journalists at the Wallabies' press conference on Tuesday morning. It's a well-trodden tale within Australian rugby circles but still he answered each question thoughtfully despite having done-so countless times before as the journalists sought a greater understanding of the player who completes the Wallabies' first-choice back-row.

"Yeah I get asked [about it] a lot," he said quietly. "It's something that, probably, people talk about a lot, but, as I say all the time, I never really suffered in any way, shape or form.

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"I was just there at a time where I had to make a decision, and I made the decision to stay and help ...any guy in this [Wallabies] team would have made the same decision. You probably saw the way the guys played on the weekend; we were down to 13 men, they were making the tough decisions and doing the tough things.

"So to me, it wasn't a tough decision because that's the kind of people we surround ourselves with." Back on the field, it's Scotland, Australia's quarterfinal opponents, who are Fardy's focus this week.

"They're a resilient side, very tough, so we know what we're going to come up against and we'll look more into them and come up with a game plan that's going to suit what we need to do to get a win," he said.

"You know we're expecting a big physical Scots side; I'm looking forward to it."

With Hooper having served his one-match ban and Pocock on track to recover from a calf injury, Fardy's brief run in London's weekend sports pages may well prove be a one-time thing. But just like The Beatles and Ringo, the Wallabies know you can't have a band without the beat.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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