Northampton lead race to sign Madigan
Northampton Saints are leading the chase to sign Ian Madigan if the Ireland out-half secures his release from his contract at Bordeaux Begles.
The 27-year-old is reported to want out of the struggling Top 14 side after just one season after slipping behind New Zealander Simon Hickey in the pecking order.
Midi Olimpique yesterday revealed that the club are ready to let Madigan leave if they can find a replacement, and he is attracting interest from several English clubs, with Northampton his most likely destination.
The Saints are on the look-out for a replacement for Munster-bound JJ Hanrahan and have targeted Aaron Cruden, George Ford and Paddy Jackson without success.
London Irish, Gloucester and Bristol are also thought to be monitoring the situation.
Ireland manager Paul Dean yesterday said the IRFU would attempt to lure Madigan back to the Irish system, but already Rassie Erasmus has ruled out a move to Munster.
Dean also said Ireland hope that Johnny Sexton and Rob Kearney will train today in order to prove their fitness for Saturday's clash with France.
Josh van der Flier will miss the rest of the Six Nations as a result of his shoulder injury, while Munster's Francis Saili has been cited for an alleged dangerous tackle last weekend.
Meanwhile, Mathieu Bastareaud was last night ruled out of the Aviva Stadium showdown due to concussion.
The juggernaut centre had only been drafted back into Les Bleus' squad over the weekend.
The 28-year-old Toulon star has terrorised Ireland's midfield in the past with his bullish ball-carrying, but has failed to prove his fitness so must sit out the weekend battle in Dublin.
"Following a concussion Mathieu Bastareaud underwent a neurological test which does not allow him to be available for Ireland v France," the French Rugby Federation tweeted.
France have also lost Clermont flanker Damien Chouly to an ankle injury, with Stade Francais' Raphael Lakafia called up as a replacement.