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Madigan would rather lead the attack than play at inside centre.
Madigan would rather lead the attack than play at inside centre.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

'It's no secret out-half is my preferred position' - Ian Madigan on playing 10 or 12

Madigan also refused to rule out the possibility of him moving province at some stage during his career.
Dec 9th 2014, 8:32 PM 3,944 28

FINALLY WE GET it from the man himself. Ian Madigan was in the media dock today and under cross-examination we finally had a chance to get an answer on one of the season’s longest running discussions.

Is he a ten or a twelve?

After every loss, the calls to shift Madigan in one position closer to the scrum has grown louder but his ability as a second playmaker further out the field has proven valuable for Leinster at times.

But where does Madigan see himself?

“First and foremost I’m a rugby player so that means I can play at out-half, centre and fullback,” Madigan said.

“It is no secret that out-half is my preferred position but I really enjoy playing in the centre. For me it is just about going out and playing the game and playing my game to the best of my ability.”

So that is that, end of discussion. Madigan prefers ten. Only, that doesn’t really matter because as Leinster skills coach Richie Murphy says, the coaching staff think Leinster are at their best with both Madigan and Jimmy Gopperth on the field. And Jimmy ain’t playing 12.

Over the autumn, Madigan played both positions with Ireland but he got a start at out-half and was the second option at ten for the South Africa and Australia games.

Still, Madigan doesn’t agree that he is being torn between being a centre with his province and an out-half with his country.

“Joe played me at centre and fullback for Leinster so I don’t think he sees me exclusively at out-half,” Madigan said.

“Playing centre isn’t massively different to out-half the way Matt has me in the team. I’m more of a playmaking centre than someone who just smashes it up. The fact that I’m still doing the goal kicking is great.”

Leinster confirmed today that Jimmy Gopperth is talking to other clubs about moving at the end of the season but even with his departure, it is unlikely that Madigan will see a whole load of game-time at out-half due to the return of Johnny Sexton.

There has been speculation as to whether it will be a Sexton-Madigan axis at 10-12 or whether Madigan might even move on to nail down an out-half spot at another club.

Madigan said he hasn’t really thought about Sexton’s return yet, but when asked about possibly switching provinces (Munster was mentioned, likely because of a comment made by a former player recently) – although committing to Leinster – he did leave the door open just a crack.

“I haven’t focused much on Johnny coming back next year because it is a full year away,” Madigan said.

“When he does come back I will be focusing on myself and trying to make myself as good a player as possible. I’ll see where that takes me but at least I know I’ll be true to myself.

I’m contracted til the end of 2015 and that is my main focus. It is very hard as a player to look past that. You would be very naive to rule out playing for another team in a professional sport but I am very happy with Leinster and would like to stay here as long as possible.

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