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Inside job's fine for Madigan

LEINSTER'S Ian Madigan is willing to continue his recent role at inside-centre for Ireland in the tour to the United States and Canada next month.

This means he will take a 'play anywhere' attitude into what is seen as a shoot-out with Ulster's Paddy Jackson for the number 10 jersey.

Can Madigan play second fiddle to Jackson in North America in the same way that he did to Jonathan Sexton in the Amlin Challenge Cup final on Friday night?

"I think so. Why not? If it means the two of us are on the pitch, I certainly wouldn't have an issue with it," he said.

"Paddy is a great player and he's a great guy. I really enjoy competing with him in training or against him with Ulster.

"I am not sure how the tour is going to work. Obviously, I have been playing at 12 for the last few weeks. If we can play together at 10 and 12, I would be delighted.

"This was my third game (against Stade Francais) at it. I feel this was probably my best game of the three because I feel I am improving with every game I get there.

"I certainly enjoy playing in the position. I will play anywhere to avoid being on the bench."

More than that, he would even consider a more permanent switch to 12 as Gordon D'Arcy approaches the end of his stellar career and Sexton blocks the path to the number 10 slot for Ireland.

"I probably offer something slightly different to a normal 12," Madigan considered.

"I will have to talk to Joe (Schmidt) about it and maybe over the summer, look to put on a few kilos and give me extra strength for the go-forward part of 12.

"It is no secret that the passing game is the key to the way I play. I would like to think I could bring that to whatever team I am playing on."

For now, Madigan will have to get his head around a second final in eight days as Leinster prepare to undo Jackson's Ulster in the Rabodirect PRO12 League final at the RDS on Saturday.

"We had two great games against them this year. I think they are a really good team. I think they have got a really strong pack and an exciting backline, a particularly exciting back three. It is going to be a very, very tight game. I'd like to think it is going to be a brilliant final," he said.

Madigan has shown patience and understanding, moving into relatively unfamiliar roles in order to break into the Leinster starting side, at fly-half, full-back and centre.

"In a club like Leinster, unfortunately, because there are so many quality players, you just have to bide your time.

 

INJURY

"The injury to Gordon (D'Arcy) provided me with the opportunity that was the one I was waiting for."

He even took time out to back the possible full-time link between Joe Schmidt and Les Kiss for Ireland.

"I worked with Les two or three years ago when he was doing defence coach with Leinster and I really enjoyed my time with him then.

"He is very similar to Joe. He is very technical-based. I think himself and Joe will work very well together. Les's defensive systems work really well and he's got his own views on the attacking game.

"I would say they are very similar. He (Kiss) is willing to attack from deep. He doesn't overly-emphasise on kicking the ball.

"He believes if you take teams through the phases you will break them down that way. The way the international game is gone at the moment, it is very territory based.

"There is no reason why we can't change that with Ireland and with Joe and Les."

Madigan was initially listed as under consideration for the British and Irish Lions. "There were maybe 50 or 60 letters sent out, I was in that initial group. There hasn't been any contact since the squad was announced," he said.

He is ambitious, but also realistic about where he is at in his career.

"I think the Lions should come for you when you are at the pinnacle of your career. I don't feel I am there yet," Madigan admitted.

"I am just trying to break into the Leinster team at the moment. There was a lot of hype around (the Lions). It is hard not to get carried away. My focus, at the moment, is trying to improve."


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