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Madigan hoping for recall to 10 shirt when Bordeaux Bégles welcome Ulster

The former Leinster man expects Ulster to be ‘a year better’ than when he last faced Les Kiss’ men.

Madigan preparing for his Top14 debut earier this season.
Madigan preparing for his Top14 debut earier this season.
Image: YouTube screen grab

IAN MADIGAN SAYS his new side Bordeaux Bégles are looking forward to making a big impact in the Champions Cup this campaign after an encouraging return to the competition last season.

Bordeaux-Bégles played in the inaugural Heineken Cup  and again in 1998-99 but had to wait until last season for a return to Europe’s premier competition after the club was restructured.

They lost their opening three matches last season but then recovered to beat Ospreys 33-27 and Exeter Chiefs 34-27 at Stade Chaban-Delmas in Bordeaux before travelling to Clermont Auvergne and winning 37-28 in their final pool match.

“Beating Clermont away was a great achievement,” said Madigan. “Bordeaux proved themselves last year in Europe, that they can go toe to toe with the best teams.

“It will be a great challenge. Ulster will be a great challenge, with the signings they have made and the age profile, they will be a year better.”

With Clermont Auvergne and Exeter Chiefs again in their pool, Bordeaux-Bégles know what’s required to advance and Madigan has been encouraged by the start they have made to the season.

He was an unused replacement on Saturday when they scored their fifth win in eight games to leave them fifth in the Top 14. Former French international Lionel Beauxis kicked 17 points in the 27-25 win over Brive at the weekend.

Madigan, a Heineken Cup winner in 2011 and ’12, is likely to come back into contention for Sunday’s clash in France, and knows that it is likely to pit him against Paddy Jackson who, of course, got the nod over him when Jonathan Sexton was ruled out of the tour to South Africa.

Paddy Jackson with Ian Madigan Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Madigan, who picked up his 30th cap when given a run late off the bench in the third test against the Springboks, knows what Jackson is capable of if they give him opportunities.

“Paddy is improving every year he is getting older. He is a quality player and they have an excellent team and a quality coach. We know what we are up against,” said the 27-year old.

It will be the second time that Bordeaux-Bégles and Ulster have clashed in the competition, with the French coming away from Ravenhill with a 29-16 in what was only the second game for both teams in the inaugural Heineken Cup in 1995.

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John Fallon

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