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Ireland international Madigan up for Championship Player of the Year

The 32-times capped out-half was instrumental as Pat Lam’s Bristol earned promotion.

BRISTOL OUT-HALF Ian Madigan has been nominated for the 2018 Championship Player of the Year award after helping his side to promotion into next season’s Premiership.

32-times capped Ireland international Madigan moved to Bristol from Top 14 side Bordeaux last summer, linking up with former Connacht head coach Pat Lam and quickly establishing himself as a key player.

Ian Madigan Madigan has been superb for Bristol all season. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

His place-kicking accuracy has been outstanding all season, with a success rate of close to 90% leading to a personal haul of 235 points in 20 games for Bristol, with one Championship fixture still left this weekend.

That tally of 235 points in the league also includes one try, while Madigan has fitted into Lam’s attacking tactics comfortably and has regularly created opportunities for his team-mates.

Bristol have been superb over the course of the 2017/18 campaign and have lost just once in their 21 games so far, notching 17 try-scoring bonus points and conceding 393 points – the best defensive record in the league.

Bristol’s already-strong squad will be augmented this summer by new signings such as former All Blacks Charles Piutau and John Afoa, ex-Connacht second row Aly Muldowney, current Connacht back row Jake Heenan and Australian scrum-half Nic Stirzaker, and the club is setting its sights on Champions Cup qualification.

With Madigan having played a starring role in their promotion, he will have an opportunity to play against the best players in England next season as Bristol take on the Premiership under the ambitious Lam.

Former Leinster man Madigan is up against Bristol team-mate Dan Thomas and Bedford’s Michael Le Bourgeois for the Championship Player of the Year award, with the captains of each club in the league set to vote for the winner.

It’s an absolute privilege to be nominated by my peers for this award,” said Madigan. “I would like to thank my Bristol teammates and coaches for making it possible for me to perform this season, because without their hard work it wouldn’t happen.

“A big thanks goes to Pat Lam and my team-mates for making my job so easy.”

The winner will be announced at the Rugby Players Association Awards in London on Wednesday 9 May.

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Murray Kinsella

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