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Madigan needs more time at ten to graduate to Six Nations


Ian Madigan

Ian Madigan

Ian Madigan

Former Leinster out-half Richie Murphy says Ian Madigan "will be better for" his third start at fly-half this season.

The Irish international came under heavy fire from a dominant Munster at Thomond Park last Friday night.

"He had some very good touches and some parts of his game he probably needs to brush up," said Leinster's assistant coach.

"It was his first opportunity there in a while and obviously down in Munster it was always going to be difficult."

All the talent in the world can't make up for consistent game time. That is how Ian Keatley has presumably overtaken the injured Paddy Jackson and made ground on the versatile Madigan.

Munster made it their mission to pressure Madigan into early decisions.

"They took away a lot of his time and space so some good stuff, some bad.

"He'll be better for it," said Murphy

Ireland's need is great given how Jonathan Sexton has been stood down from all competitive action until February 14th, the day France will roll into The Aviva Stadium.

"It was important for Ian. We haven't had the ability to play him there because of the injuries.

"We are starting to get a few more bodies back on board, which means there is less pressure to play him somewhere else."

National circumstances could dictate that Madigan steers the ship from ten through the month of January.

Or else, Munster's Keatley will have his hand in the air to stand in for Sexton against Italy on February 7th.

Murphy was content to let it be known Madigan could be given the opening to make up for lost game time.

"There is no reason why he can't play 10 more and make a play for the Irish place," said Murphy.

Centre Ben Te'o will be back in the mix to play against Ulster in the PRO12 League on Saturday.

The case for centre Fergus McFadden (thumb) and Martin Moore (shoulder) isn't as clear cut, both probably having to wait until Cardiff seven days later.

The Big Two - Cian Healy and Sean O'Brien - are closing in on game time as well.

Loose-head Healy will aim for the middle of January with O'Brien flirting with the motivation of making The Six Nations.