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Schmidt compares Mads to Mehrtens


Ian Madigan. Picture: Sportsfile

Ian Madigan. Picture: Sportsfile


Ian Madigan. Picture: Sportsfile

YOU have to be able to play when you've got a haircut like the one Ian Madigan turned up with at the RDS.

The boy can play alright. There is a touch of Carlos Spencer about the way he sees that something is on and instantly goes for it, no matter the risk.

Madigan is a known admirer of the former mercurial All Black, who was blessed with the genius of David Campese, but also the madness.

You could see Madigan's love of Spencer in the way he outrageously chipped over the top from behind his own line in the second half. There was method to this madness as referee Nigel Owens was playing an advantage.

There is not too much room in the professional game for a Spencer. Perhaps, Wallaby Quade Cooper is the closest thing to him.

Joe Schmidt would prefer to see Madigan develop more in the direction of another great All Black, who calculated the odds when it came to taking a chance.

"Mads can have a little bit of Andrew Mehrtens in him if he wants. Mehrts would still do something a little extraordinary," said Schmidt.

"He had good speed, but wouldn't ever have been as physical as Mads. He slipped off one or two tonight, but also made a few important tackles."

Of course, the comparisons to Spencer and Mehrtens are somewhat fun and fanciful and extremely premature. Schmidt will always want to know where his 10 is going and what he is going to do next.

It was Madigan's flawless kicking, six from six, and slick try in the 72nd minute which eventually broke the muscular resistance of the Warriors on Saturday night (22-17).

There were times when the Scots seemed to hold most of the aces in number eight Josh Strauss, left wing DTH van der Merwe and scrum-half Niko Matawalu, until coach Gregor Townsend called Matawalu ashore for his deteriorating service to Duncan Weir.

It came as some relief to Schmidt: "After round one, we were dead last. We've had to claw our way back up. We've let a couple of games slip away from us.

"That one could easily have slipped away from us too. But I really was impressed by the way we hung in there. We weren't necessarily better than them. They weren't better than us.

"It was just one of those games that was always going to be a skinny divide and we managed the advantage in our favour."

It was sound enough for four points and the lead of the PRO12 League, one ahead of Glasgow, who hold just a points-difference edge over Ulster in third.

"I think they are a very good team, to be honest. I would be delighted if we didn't see them again this year. They're very big, very physical," said the Leinster coach.

Schmidt will not necessarily welcome back all the Ireland international cavalry at home to the northern province next Saturday.

"Some of those guys who played tonight, they really want to challenge for those spots," he said.

"I know they are frontline internationals, but you want a really competitive environment, so we will definitely get a few more back in. But we will probably mix and match a little bit.

"I don't think you can disregard the character that was shown tonight (Saturday) and not continue to give guys opportunity whether it is next week or the week after or the week after that."

Glasgow coach Townsend was not about to play dead: "We are desperately disappointed not to get a win," he said.

"To have led for most of the game, it is really disappointing to pick up only one point. We've got a very tough match against Munster. We've got to bounce back with a win."