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Sunday 25 June 2017

Madigan looks for an Irish return

Out-half would jump at chance to move home from Bordeaux disaster

Ireland international Ian Madigan yesterday announced Electric Ireland’s continued
support of the Ireland U20s 2017 Rugby Six Nations home games in Donnybrook. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ireland international Ian Madigan yesterday announced Electric Ireland’s continued support of the Ireland U20s 2017 Rugby Six Nations home games in Donnybrook. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ian Madigan has issued a 'come and get me' call out to the Irish provinces.

This comes with the proviso that he could still see out his two-year contract at Bordeaux-Begles.

Effectively, this decision resides with the President of the French club, Laurent Marti.

Madigan's "dream start" at Bordeaux has turned into something of a nightmare.

The happening of a groin strain that morphed into a split in his tendon has meant New Zealander Simon Hickey has taken over in the number ten shirt.

The Ireland international has not started in the French Top-14 since October 30.

The loss of fitness fed into the absence of form and the fall of confidence.

There were questions to which he wanted answers.

Madigan made the decision to knock on Marti's door recently to discuss, among other things, the loss of confidence from coaches Raphael Ibanez and Emile N'Tamack.

Essentially, Madigan felt he had no option.

"It was certainly a risk, but I wasn't going in there to the President to criticise the overall system or have a go at the coaches.

"That wasn't it. It was an open conversation about, 'is this working on your part, is this working on my part?'

"And ultimately about trying to get solutions on that front.

"The reason why I had that conversation with our president is because I didn't feel that I had the confidence of the coaches or many of the players.

"I was in there to get to the bottom of it and try improve that situation."

Monsieur Marti requested two weeks to deliberate on the position of the club.

In the meantime, Madigan has rubbished speculation about discussions with other clubs.

He did sound like a man who has seen that the grass is not greener in France.

"A move back to Ireland would certainly excite me," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind about that.

Ultimate

"Playing for Ireland is still the ultimate for me.

"The reason I made the move was to improve as a rugby player."

"If it did happen that they decided to release me and an opportunity to come back to Ireland came up, if definitely would be something that would excite me.

"These conversations haven't been had because I am under contract at the moment. Nothing has been done on that front," he stressed.

"It has just been strictly speculation over the last few days."

Madigan has a greater appreciation for what Jonathan Sexton had to endure at Racing.

"It has been a challenge going over there," he admitted. "There are certain things that I believe in how the game should be played and certain ways that I've been taught to do things by the Leinster and Irish coaches.

"Things are done slightly different over there and, at times, I haven't got it right in how I've tried to impart that knowledge, or having open conversations."

Madigan has not wavered in his opinion that playing for Ireland is still the golden goal.

While the Six Nations is out of reach, barring a calamity of injuries, he has turned towards the summer tour to the United States and Japan as his next realistic international goal.

Excite me

"With the Lions tour this year, you'd expect that there are going to be guys taken away with that. It's a tour that would really excite me.

"I'll be looking to build performance on performance and get a good run of games towards the end of the season and show Joe that I'm fit and well, and a viable option for him for what's going to be a pretty tough tour."

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