Wednesday 18 October 2017

Madigan not resting on his laurels after Scotland

Ian Madigan speaking last night at the launch of fantasyrugger.com
Ian Madigan speaking last night at the launch of fantasyrugger.com

Tom Rooney

Ian Madigan is not getting carried away with his virtuoso second-half display against Scotland.

Instead, the Ireland fly-half wants to build on the good moments and improve the not-so good in order to book his place in Joe Schmidt's squad for next month's World Cup as Johnny Sexton's back-up.

In stark contrast to the systematic destruction of an undercooked Wales in Cardiff a week previous, Ireland were markedly error-prone in overcoming the Scots at the Aviva Stadium. The 28-22 win was pockmarked by handling mishaps and missed tackles.

However, in a rare start in his favoured position of out-half, the Leinster man looked assured in most areas, notably his place-kicking, with a solid return of four from five at the tee. Furthermore, there was a reminder of his improvisational brilliance; the inside pass for Simon Zebo's try and the cross-field kick to create the game-winning score for Luke Fitzgerald.

Yet, with a place Schmidt's squad still at the stake, the 26-year-old is only occupied by the manner in which he marshalled those around him and how best to rectify personal shortcomings.

"I think as an out-half, you're looking closely at how the team did and how you directed things, and then you're also looking at it on an individual basis," he said. "There were some big work-ons for me in that game; defensively I slipped off some tackles; missing that last kick was disappointing and there was a few other things as well."

Madigan, of course, is in direct competition with Paddy Jackson to deputise for Sexton, so the margin for error is decidedly slim.

Though the former Blackrock standout would prefer to apply his thinking to what is within his control, namely compartmentalising all his duties as an international fly-half and a continued quest for betterment.

"I've talked before about how goal-kicking well can give other parts of your game massive confidence," he said. "But it's very important that if you're missing kicks it doesn't affect other parts of your game. It's just something that I've worked on with both the kicking coach (Richie Murphy) and the psychologist (Enda McNulty).

"As a professional, you're always looking for ways to improve and the day you stop doing that you should stop playing the game."

Now back in the Leinster set-up on temporary basis, Madigan was elated to hear that Leo Cullen has been appointed as the three-time Heineken Cup winners' new head coach.

"I'm delighted it's been finalised and announced," he said. "I think he's the man for the job.

"It's great now we can get cracking with Leo and the team he's been building behind the scenes."

Irish Independent

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