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'I can't remember the last time he missed four kicks': Murphy backs Madigan to get on target again

The Leinster back could be given a chance to impress at number 10 for the Wolfhounds this Friday.

IAN MADIGAN COULD be given an opportunity to show his ability as a number 10 from the start on Friday when Ireland Wolfhounds meet the England Saxons in Cork.

The Leinster star has had limited opportunities to start in his favoured position at provincial level with Jimmy Gopperth dominating the jersey.

With Jonathan Sexton ruled out of the Six Nations opener against Italy, however, Madigan appears to be the front-runner to stand in at out-half in Rome challenged by Ian Keatley with Noel Reid the covering option.

Ian Madigan Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“It’s definitely an issue,” skills and kicking coach Richie Murphy says of Madigan’s lack of minutes as a number 10, “but when he has played there this year he has been pretty good. Joe [Schmidt] will have to make a decision on that later in the week.”

He added: “[The Wolfhounds match] might be an opportunity for Ian Madigan to get a little bit of game time at 10. If that comes to pass he is in a little bit better position going forward. Ian Keatley has played loads of rugby at 10; we kind of know where he is.”

Complicating Madigan’s claim to a Test jersey was his shaky kicking display off the tee in Leinster’s 20-20 where the utility back uncharacteristically missed four of seven kicks at goal.

“It’s a real surprise,” says Murphy who is also Madigan’s kicking coach at provincial level.

“He was very disappointed in himself. I can’t remember the last time that he missed four kicks in a game.”

Murphy urged Madigan to mentally put the Coventry stats behind him and ‘not make a big deal of it’. However, with Murphy standing and willing to chat in Carton House The42 thought it would be a shame not to ask what exactly went wrong.

It was a little difficult in a stadium that we have never been in before. There was a little bit of breeze blowing across the pitch.

“He missed two kicks which were little pulls; that would be something that he would fight against from time to time and he over-corrected on the other two.

“The last two kicks were pretty good in relation to the strike and the ball flight. He pushed them out on the other side. It was disappointing for Ian but he will move on and recover well for it.”

Murphy, ever a mine of information for kicking stats, added: “He was kicking at over 85% for the season and having missed four at the weekend it brings it down to 82; so he is still a high quality goal-kicker. He just happened to pile up a few misses at one time.”

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Sean Farrell

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