Friday 19 April 2019

Madigan earmarked for more central role

Ian Madigan, Leinster, goes past the Gloucester defence on his way to scoring his side's second try. Pre-Season Friendly, Leinster v Gloucester, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin.
Ian Madigan, Leinster, goes past the Gloucester defence on his way to scoring his side's second try. Pre-Season Friendly, Leinster v Gloucester, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin.

Leinster 33 Gloucester 22 Declan Rooney

Joe Schmidt and his fellow head coaches will meet Declan Kidney on Wednesday to thrash out the national players' arrangements for the year ahead, but on this showing the Leinster boss could be forced to plan without Ian Madigan.

Madigan was central to Leinster's five-try victory at Tallaght Stadium on Saturday and the creative out-half could be primed for increased field time in key games if he continues in this rich vein of form.

Schmidt is resigned to having to plan without some key players for the opening rounds of the Pro12, but he is happy that the provinces are now being kept in the loop.

Positive

"There is an increased dialogue now which is positive and we have got a meeting on Wednesday with the provincial coaches and national coaches," he said.

"As long as those lines of communication are open, then it is always just a little bit easier to try to negotiate. But in the end, you have to follow the lead a bit as well."

And the Kiwi coach was delighted with the turnout as Leinster played in Tallaght Stadium for the first time.

"The RDS is our home and we really love playing there, but it was great to get out of town. I guess it was a little like Carlow last week when we had a super turnout. It gets players excited," said Schmidt.

"They love playing the game, but they love playing the game a little bit more when there is a little bit of energy going on around outside the stadium and going on around the edge of the pitch. That kind of enthusiasm pushed them on a little bit more."

Filling Jonathan Sexton's shoes, Madigan wanted to catch the eye and after Leo Auva'a's opener on 10 minutes and Ian Clark's retort for Gloucester, the out-half stepped forward on the half-hour mark.

He showed some quick feet to gather an overthrow from hooker Aaron Dundon on the 10-metre line and raced past the cover for an easy try to give Leinster a 14-10 lead at the interval.

After the restart, Madigan turned clever provider and a crossfield kick picked out debutant Andrew Boyle for his first try in the senior blue shirt.

But Nigel Davies' side continued to press and got reward for their efforts when Peter Buxton finished off some incessant Gloucester probing and crashed over.

But Leinster soon settled again and further tries from flanker Dominic Ryan and full-back Darren Hudson got their season off to a fine start.

LEINSTER -- D Hudson (L McGrath for 77); A Boyle (S Coghlan-Murray 58), C O'Shea (B Macken 72), N Reid, F Carr; I Madigan, J Cooney; J McGrath (J O'Connell 58), A Dundon (T Sexton h-t), J Hagan (M McGrath 58); T Denton, D Browne (B Marshall 56); B Marshall (D Ryan h-t), S Jennings (J Murphy 64), L Auva'a.

GLOUCESTER -- R Cook (M Thompson h-t); S Monahan (J Simpson-Daniel h-t), T Molenaar, B Twelvetrees, I Clark; T Taylor, D Lewis (D Robson h-t); Y Thomas (D Murphy h-t), Dawidiuk (K Britton 52 (D'Apice 77)), S Knight (D Christolini h-t), T Savage, A Brown; P Buxton, A Hazell (R Langley 64), S Kalamafoni.

REF -- Alain Rolland (IRFU).

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