'If I'm playing at my best, hopefully he will call upon me' - Ian Madigan not giving up hope of Ireland return
Before Simon Zebo was sent into international exile by Joe Schmidt, out-half Ian Madigan made a similarly tough choice when he opted to leave Leinster and move to Bordeaux in the summer of 2016.
Although Madigan featured in that summer's test series against South Africa - unlike Zebo who was immediately jettisoned from this month's Ireland squad after deciding to move to France at the end of this season - the playmaker soon understood the consequences of his decision.
The 28-year-old hasn't played in green since, missing out on the historic win over the All Blacks in Chicago last November and the 2017 Six Nations in the meantime.
Speaking on The Left Wing with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery, Madigan revealed that he is still in contact with Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, but adds that the policy on selecting overseas players seems to have become even more pronounced, which would make a recall in the short-term a remote prospect.
"I think it is getting harder, when you see what has happened with Zebo in the last few weeks, you realise it is very strict, it has got stricter again," Madigan said.
"I was still in contact with Joe last year when I was in France and over the summer when I was with Bristol but he wouldn't be imparting what tactics he is using at the moment. It would be more about how I am getting on, keeping me in the loop to a certain extent. I've a very good relationship with Joe, he coached me for a good few years with Leinster and Ireland."
Despite being contracted to Bristol for another two seasons after this campaign, Madigan is still holding out hope that Schmidt will pick up the phone and invite him back into the national set-up eventually.
"Obviously he is head coach of the national team, and I still feel deep down that if I am playing to the best of my ability and Ireland need me, then hopefully he will call upon me. I will need to be playing right at my very best and there has to be a bit of a supply issue as well."
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