Tuesday 22 January 2019

Madigan has a 'strong chance' of staying at twelve

The issue of where best to play Ireland's Ian Madigan came up for uncomfortable conversation with the well-worn news Jonathan Sexton is on his way home.

The 25-year-old gutted the passive Scarlets for two tries, played a strong hand in Rob Kearney's two, and turned six tries into six conversions.

"There was never a doubt in my mind how good a footballer Ian is at twelve. He gives you a second set of hands," said Leinster coach Matt O'Connor.

"He gives you the ability to expose the space whether that is to kick to it or to run it.

"He had a great game."

It also comes at a time when the hot form of Madigan radiates confidence in comparison to Jimmy Gopperth's second ordinary outing.

The simple facts are that Madigan is contracted to Leinster until the summer of 2016 whereas Gopperth's deal concludes next summer.

Were it not for the temporary demise of Noel Reid to an ankle injury, Madigan might have got his first shot at ten against the Scarlets. He may have been planted at twelve on a needs-must basis.

Could he be set for another week at twelve? "He would be a strong chance," stated O'Connor. "The combinations, training and playing, are important for us, still having test guys coming back into the mix. You need to capitalise on those."

Understandably, the coach was not inclined to entertain the 'what when' question over what will happen when Sexton returns? Who will have to make way?

"It's a non-event. Johnny's away for 12 months. Let's worry about Gopperth and Madigan and what we're trying to achieve here in the short-term".

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