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'I'd be open to playing at any of the provinces' - Ian Madigan open to Ireland return after four years away


Ian Madigan in action for Bristol. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Ian Madigan in action for Bristol. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Ian Madigan in action for Bristol. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Ian Madigan has revealed that he is considering a return to Ireland after almost four seasons away and would be open to playing for any of the Irish provinces.

Madigan has been plying his trade in France and England since leaving Leinster in 2016, spending a campaign with Bordeaux-Begles in the Top 14 before moving to Bristol, where he has spent the last two-and-a-half seasons.

However, after playing a key role in Bristol's promotion from the Championship in 2018, Madigan has seen his game-time become increasingly limited, and with his contract set to expire in the summer, he is considering his options.

Speaking to The Left Wing, Independent.ie's rugby podcast, Madigan said that although he is still fighting for a starting place with Pat Lam's side, he is thinking about the prospect of returning to Ireland - and would play for any of the four provinces.

"My contract is up in Bristol at the end of the season," Madigan said.

"I'm going through that process at the moment and maybe potentially looking at coming back home, all the Irish provinces are going as strong as ever and you would love to be involved there again, but you just have to wait and see.

"I'd be open to playing at any of the provinces, be that Leinster, Munster, Connacht or Ulster. There are great things going on with Andy Friend in Connacht and Dan McFarland in Ulster. Munster and Leinster are strong as ever, it would be a joy to play with any of the provinces."

Madigan hasn't added to his 30 international caps since leaving for France after the tour of South Africa in 2016, and admits that he has looked on with a degree of envy as other players took his place in the Ireland squad.

"You'd be lying if you said you weren't looking at how guys were getting on at other clubs, and the grass is always greener," he said.

"But at the same time, I do my best to be forward-focused and not dwell on the past too much. I have a strong belief in the decisions I've made once I have made them. It's about getting on with it then, I'm not one to be dwelling on what might have been."

Madigan has seen himself more involved with Bristol over the last few weeks, especially in their European Challenge Cup campaign, and is hoping to play a bigger part going forward before he decides his future.

"It has been a frustrating few months," Madigan said.

"I was out of favour towards the end of last season and then got a few opportunities at the start of this year but I didn't really help myself. I was trying to force things to force my way back in. I could have played better at the start of the season. Things are kind of turning back in my favour now, I've started a couple of games and been back in the 23. Hopefully, the second half of the season is more favourable to me."

Online Editors