Ian Madigan: I haven't given up on Irish hopes
Bordeaux-bound No. 10 reveals he has yet to iron out his international future with Schmidt
Ian Madigan has refused to concede that his imminent move to Bordeaux on a two-year deal will automatically scupper his international chances.
The 26-year-old understudy to Jonathan Sexton at Leinster and Ireland is in danger of jeopardising his Irish chances as the IRFU have an unwritten policy of refusing to pick players who leave the Irish system.
And Joe Schmidt pointedly referred to Madigan's move as "unfortunate" over the weekend as he outlined how his departure would now pave the way for belated opportunities for Ulster out-half Paddy Jackson.
However, Madigan has revealed that he has yet to have a discussion with Schmidt about the ramifications of his decision to leave Leinster.
"There's been no conversation with Joe about whether I will or not be selected for Ireland while I'm away," the 26-year-old told the Irish Independent.
"For me, what is most important is that I'm growing as a player, learning from team-mates and from other coaches. And I will be working closely with Joe while I am in that process.
"I was at a crossroads in my career. In professional sport, you are either moving forward or moving out. I had to make a decision with Jonnny there at Leinster. I've done that by joining Bordeaux on a two-year deal to try to grow as a player.
"Ultimately, for me playing for Ireland is everything. And I think long-term to grow as a player will enhance my opportunities to play for Ireland down the line.
"And if those opportunities present themselves while in France, all well and good. If I stayed in Leinster where I was, getting used off the bench or starting here and there, I probably wouldn't have got those opportunities anyway."
Madigan is convinced that if he can establish himself as a first-choice out-half with ambitious Bordeaux, he can return, presumably rejoining Leinster, in a better position to state his claim for a starting position with Ireland.
"They already have a quality international out-half, and when you sign for a top club there is no guarantee that they will play you in your preferred position or if they will play you at all.
"That's the way it has always been for me. It was the same when I joined Leinster: unless you are at the top of your game, you are not always going to get selected."
On 28 May Donnybrook Stadium will host the inaugural Dublin 7s Festival, where some of the biggest names in world rugby will descend on the capital including professional teams from England, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Japan, Germany and France. Tickets start at €15 for general admission with VIP and corporate hospitality packages are also available from www.dublin7sfestival.ie