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'We know that Joe's game plans are going to work' - Ireland firm in belief

Ian Madigan is excited for Ireland to unleash some of the plays they have been holding back.

Murray Kinsella reports from Celtic Manor

IRELAND’S PLAYERS HAVE full faith that Joe Schmidt’s game plan for Sunday’s World Cup Pool D clash with France will bring positive results, says Ian Madigan.

Ireland’s players have hinted that they have been holding some of their very best plays and patterns back for the occasion of their most important World Cup fixture to date, and this weekend may see them finally unleashed.

Paul O'Connell and Joe Schmidt Schmidt will have picked out some specific plays for the French defence. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Madigan, who featured off the bench against Canada and started the win over Romania, says the squad are always excited to implement Schmidt’s tactics.

“Having Joe as our coach, when he decides on the game plan and the patterns of play that we’re going to use for any given week, there’s massive excitement,” said Madigan. “Because you know that they are going to work.

“We’ve full belief in the patterns of play that he decides on, and that creates massive excitement in preparing during the week in training. And that only builds the closer you get to a match.”

As an out-half, Madigan one of the men who calls the plays on the pitch. While Ireland may have trained for one particular play before, there are sometimes limits on what their playmakers can call out on the pitch.

Madigan says that’s very much part of the sport and has been since his schoolboy days.

It is a part of rugby now because the analysis that other teams are doing on you are so extensive that if you show certain patterns of play or certain back plays that they’ll know how to defend if you use them in a game in future,” says the out-half.

“It’s something that the Irish are used to though. In Blackrock College we used to hold certain plays back for big cup games and so did some of the other big rugby schools. It’s something we’re well able to do and we know that when the time’s right to call a specific play that we’ll be able to execute it.”


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Madigan was an unused replacement last weekend as Ireland squeezed past Italy in Olympic Park, and although he was not called upon on that occasion, he has “no doubt that Joe has full faith in his bench.”

Ian Madigan Madigan was an unused sub last weekend in London. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The Leinster man has seen a different mentality among the playing squad early this week ahead of what Ireland are viewing as a knock-out tie against the French.

“Even breakfast this morning, it was from eight until half nine, but the majority of the boys were in the breakfast room at eight o’clock. There was a queue for the laptops then after that and good intensity in the gym.

There’s small groups getting together, the front row, the locks, the half backs, getting together in units and discussing what they are going to bring this week.”

If Madigan is called upon this weekend in the Millennium Stadium, he may find himself opposite Frédéric Michalak, who Philippe Saint-André has backed as his first choice in the 10 shirt.

Madigan admires the attacking quality of the Toulon maestro.

“Freddie’s a brilliant talent, his record speaks for itself,” said Madigan. “He’s a magician, a player who can pull a rabbit out of a hat.

“And he’s the heartbeat of that French side and someone we’ll be looking to keep a close eye on this weekend. When you’re at a World Cup you want to be playing against the best and he certainly is one of those.”

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Murray Kinsella

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