herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Madigan ready-made for time at 10

The probable debut of Ben Te'o at thirteen for Leinster this Friday could have a knock-on effect on Ian Madigan's season.

There is an Ireland training camp running from today to Friday and, in the meantime, the provinces should have some internationals released for Guinness PRO12 League duty.

Either way, in the longer-term, the confirmed sighting of Te'o at outside centre should release Gordon D'Arcy back to his natural berth at twelve where he can share time Noel Reid.

It should also open the way for Madigan to make a long-awaited return to the number ten jersey where he has started just one this season, away to Zebre.

At the same time, Jimmy Gopperth has started seven of eight at out-half and completed all of them.

Whether Madigan will return to ten against Edinburgh is open to interpretation and to his release by Ireland.

Surely, D'Arcy will be rested in light of being taken off after an hour against Castres on Sunday.

The 34 year-old has had to carry the burden in midfield, playing six times, three for 80, for a man whose game-time has to be closely monitored.

Madigan was the hero of the hour and twenty on Sunday, shooting seven out of nine for all the points. He has already won the battle of the kickers with Gopperth.

Now, he needs to win the battle of the playmakers.

Leinster were lacking in game-breakers in Castres. This is a strength of Madigan. The installation of a hard-charger like Te'o at 13 means more threats to mind.

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