herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Madigan: I'll do it my way

Leinster out-half will use move to France to discover true potential

Ian Madigan at the launch of the Dublin 7s Festival, which will take place at Donnybrook
Stadium on May 28, featuring 12 elite international teams. See www.dublin7sfestival.ie
for details. Pic: Inpho
Ian Madigan at the launch of the Dublin 7s Festival, which will take place at Donnybrook Stadium on May 28, featuring 12 elite international teams. See www.dublin7sfestival.ie for details. Pic: Inpho

A strong argument can be made that Ian Madigan has never had what Jonathan Sexton has had, what Paddy Jackson has had, what even Ian Keatley has had.

That is, the complete trust of a head coach to lead his province from out-half.

For all the niceties of the game, the 27 year-old has had to play second fiddle to Sexton when Joe Schmidt was at Leinster, to Jimmy Gopperth when Matt O'Connor was there and, again, to Sexton during Leo Cullen's first season.

Perhaps, he can find that at Bordeaux-Belges in the summer.

"For me, the most important thing is to focus on myself, what I can control and proving myself as best as possible.

"With my situation at Leinster this year, I felt I wasn't moving forward as a player and I need a new challenge to move forward.

"That is why I've decided to move club."

The veteran of 29 International caps has earned all but four of them on Schmidt's watch, just four of those coming, tellingly, from the start.

He has become Ireland's 'change-up chap.'

"It is a huge point in my career where I am putting myself in a position where I will find out quickly whether I'm good enough or not.

"Throwing myself in the deep end, hopefully, it will work. I will do everything possible to make it work out."

Doubt

No one can doubt his loyalty to Leinster or his commitment to Ireland.

It is time for Madigan to find out, not the player he is, but the man he can become.

Leaving the city he loves for rugby life in France next season will test the the person more than the player.

There have been many bullets fired from France about the overall success or failure of Jonathan Sexton at Racing 92.

While Ireland's leading man has been a sounding board for Madigan, they are two entirely different people.

"I'll do it my way," he voiced.

"When I play, I don't try to play like Johnny. I don't communicate like Johnny. I've got my own way of communicating and playing the game."

The stories are legion of the French loathing for structure on the field and off of it too.

"They have a slightly different mentality over there.

"I would be naïve to start saying how they are, how they might be because I haven't experienced it, yet."

Madigan will take up the challenge and the money on offer in Bordeaux for two years .

In that time, Ulster's Jackson and any one of Leinster's Cathal Marsh, Ross Byrne or Joey Carbery, Connacht's Jack Carty, Munster's Johnny Holland or Northampton's JJ Hanrahan could bloom to jeopardise Madigan's shot at the 2019 World Cup.

"It gives the club a long enough period to know whether they want to retain me or not."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News