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Sunday 11 December 2016

Madigan made for Bordeaux

600,000 reasons to move to France for goal-kicking king

Ian Madigan thanked some of Leinster’s unsung heros when he announced his move to Bordeaux-Begles yesterday.
Ian Madigan thanked some of Leinster’s unsung heros when he announced his move to Bordeaux-Begles yesterday.

There may not be an 'I' in Team. But, there is an 'M' and an 'E'.

No one can argue that Ian Madigan has been as attached to Leinster as a limpet is to a rock.

The 26-year-old has earned the right to be selfish in a selfless game.

He has decided to take the monstrous €600,000 salary on offer at Bordeaux-Belges rather than move to Harlequins, Montpellier, or Bristol, or stay at Leinster.

Madigan could very well be Aer Lingus's next ambassador of rugby.

Afterall, it is a perfect fit given how Jonathan Sexton is back home and how his understudy the mainly fly-half, sometime inside centre, occasional full-back and always-an-entertainer will be back and forth from French club Bordeaux from next season.

Presumably, Madigan would side very much with Adam Ashley-Cooper in his recent spat with Brian O'Driscoll over the reasons for moving to the Top-14 French club.

Lest you missed it, the exchange on Twitter was triggered by O'Driscoll's verdict on Off The Ball, on Newstalk Radio.

"Adam Ashley-Cooper didn't go to Bordeaux to win Top-14 titles. He went there for a bit of sunshine and a pension," he suggested.

The Irish international will join Ashley-Cooper at a club currently occupying a respectable fifth-place on the French Top-14 ladder.

"Bordeaux Bègles are a team that are making strides in the Top 14 and in Europe," said Madigan.

"I look forward to being part of that journey and to experiencing a new style of rugby and a new life in France."

The monster money comes due to the world-class, goal-kicking reputation Madigan, honed over years of after-hours work with one of Leinster's unsung heroes.

That wasn't lost on the Ireland international.

"I've played with some brilliant players and have worked with some exceptional coaches," he continued, in the Leinster statement released yesterday.

"While I am reluctant to single one out, I want to mention Richie Murphy, who has been by my side from my days in the Sub-Academy, and has been a huge influence."

There was also a special mention reserved for Leinster Chief Executive Mick Dawson. This was made in marked contrast to no specific reference to Joe Schmidt, Matt O'Connor or Leo Cullen.

This speaks volumes really for a player who never really enjoyed the total trust deserving of an out-and-out first choice out-half general because he was never seen as such working with Sexton and Jimmy Gopperth.

Difficult

"While this was a very difficult decision for me to make, leaving the club that I have represented my whole professional life, I feel that the timing is right and it is a challenge that I'm looking forward to," he continued.

The move has been confirmed so that Madigan and Leinster can get back to business in the PRO12 League.

It is not clear what impact this will have on his international career, though Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson won't shed a tear.

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