Madigan eager for Jackson showdown as Bordeaux aim to make splash
Ian Madigan is confident Bordeaux-Bégles can make a big impact in the Champions Cup this campaign after an encouraging return to Europe's table last season.
Bordeaux-Bégles played in the inaugural Heineken Cup and again in 1998-99 but, following the club's restructuring, had to wait until last season for a return to the premier competition.
They lost their opening three matches last season but then recovered to beat Ospreys 33-27 and Exeter Chiefs 34-27 at Stade Chaban-Delmas before travelling to Clermont Auvergne and winning 37-28 in their final match.
"Beating Clermont away was a great achievement," said Madigan. "Bordeaux proved themselves last year in Europe, that they can go toe to toe with the best teams.
"It will be a great challenge. Ulster will be a great challenge, with the signings they have made and the age profile, they will be a year better."
With Clermont and Exeter again in their pool, Bordeaux-Bégles know what's required to advance and Madigan has been encouraged by the start they have made to the season.
He was an unused replacement on Saturday when they beat Brive 27-25, their fifth win in eight games, to leave them fifth in the Top 14. Former French international Lionel Beauxis kicked 17 points.
Madigan, a Heineken Cup winner in 2011 and '12, is likely to come back into contention for Sunday's home clash with Ulster. If he starts, he will come face to face with Paddy Jackson, who got the nod over him when Jonathan Sexton was ruled out of the tour to South Africa.
Madigan, who won his 30th cap when given a run late off the bench in the third Test against the Springboks, knows what Jackson is capable of if Bordeaux give him opportunities.
"Paddy is improving every year he is getting older. He is a quality player and they have an excellent team and a quality coach. We know what we are up against," said the 27-year old.
It will be the second time that Bordeaux-Bégles and Ulster have clashed in the competition, with the French winning 29-16 at Ravenhill in what was only the second game for both teams in the inaugural Heineken Cup in 1995.