'It's still one of my goals' - Ian Madigan not giving up hope of Ireland recall for World Cup
Bristol out-half Ian Madigan says earning an Ireland recall ahead of the World Cup is 'still one of his goals' despite Joe Schmidt's selection policy regarding overseas players.
Schmidt has only selected players based in Ireland during his time in charge, with the one exception being when Johnny Sexton played with Racing 92 between 2013 and 2015. Since then, Simon Zebo and Donnacha Ryan have both been culled from the squad after moving to the Top 14, while Madigan hasn't been selected since leaving Leinster in 2016, with his last appearance coming during the tour of South Africa that summer.
The playmaker spent one eason with Bordeaux-Begles in France before moving on to Bristol in 2017, and is now playing regularly in the Premiership as Pat Lam's side look to maintain their top flight status.
Madigan will turn 30 in March, and despite not playing international rugby for close to three years - and Schmidt's reluctance to pick players based overseas - the out-half hasn't yet given up hope of playing at the World Cup later this year.
Speaking on The Left Wing, Independent.ie's rugby podcast, Madigan said that he is hoping to hit top form in the second half of the season to put himself in a position to break into the World Cup squad.
"I'm just looking to put together some good performances for Bristol and see where that takes me but if I can be of help to Ireland coming into a World Cup, then great," Madigan said.
"I need to be putting in some really good performances for that to happen but if I can be another option for Joe Schmidt and Ireland, that would be great.
"I think any Irish player, whether you are playing in Ireland or outside like Simon Zebo, you are still going to have hopes and ambitions to represent Ireland at a World Cup. It's still one of my goals, it's something that drives me on when I'm training. I know it is going to be tough, but all I can do is to play to the best of my ability and put my hand up to be available for selection. If Joe feels like he needs me, he knows he can pick up the phone. He has coached me long enough, he knows what he will get out of me as a player."
Madigan has won 30 caps for Ireland, and was a member of the squad that won back-to-back Six Nations titles in 2014 and 2015. He also played a key role in Ireland's 2015 World Cup campaign, steering the team to victory against France after an injury to Johnny Sexton before starting the quarter-final defeat to Argentina.
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