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Madigan to steer ship for Thomond mission

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Ian Madigan’s fine run of form will create a dilemma for Joe Schmidt when first-choice out-half Jonny Sexton returns from his injury lay-off this week

Ian Madigan’s fine run of form will create a dilemma for Joe Schmidt when first-choice out-half Jonny Sexton returns from his injury lay-off this week

Ian Madigan’s fine run of form will create a dilemma for Joe Schmidt when first-choice out-half Jonny Sexton returns from his injury lay-off this week

IAN MADIGAN will be charged with turning over Munster in their Thomond Park citadel tomorrow night.

The potential Lions 'bolter' is set to retain the out-half berth in the Leinster team, heightening speculation he might hold off the claims of Jonathan Sexton for the position in the upcoming Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final.

Madigan has made the most of Sexton's injury-enforced absence in recent weeks and was in irresistible form for Leinster in last weekend's win over Wasps, when he contributed 28 of their 48-point total.

The 25-year-old has been revelling in the opportunity that has presented itself in Sexton's continued absence and he is also expected to be Leinster's first-choice out-half next season when Sexton departs to Racing Metro. Sexton is still recovering from the tendon tear he suffered in his foot during Irish camp and might not even make the bench for tomorrow night's game.

Leinster need to win against Munster if they are to keep their hopes of securing a home semi-final alive.

Meanwhile, Keith Earls will not be risked for Munster in tomorrow night's game. The wing had looked to have made an amazing recovery from the shoulder injury sustained playing for Ireland against Italy in the Six Nations.

He trained with the team on Tuesday, but is understood to have suffered a reaction and will not feature in the game, which is Munster's last home match of the season.

Munster have a slim chance of qualifying for the play-offs. Their priority, though, will surely be the upcoming Heineken Cup semi-final date with Clermont Auvergne on April 27.

Irish Independent