Madigan to face stiff competition from Gopperth -- Murphy

Leinster’s skills and kicking coach expects ‘a great little battle’ from the two number 10s.

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

LEINSTER SKILLS AND kicking coach Richie Murphy expects both senior number 10s under his watch to be viable options for the big games during Matt O’Connor’s first year in charge.

Ian Madigan may have become the darling of the ‘D4-tress’ at the RDS midway through last season, but the signing of Jimmy Gopperth brings a valuable set of skills which the Blackrock star has been reluctant to showcase previously.

Yesterday, Murphy highlighted the experience that the game-managing Kiwi can bring to the arena. And tough away trips like this Friday’s visit to Parc y Scarlets is precisely the type of scenario O’Connor and Leinster will hope that a measured approach from the pivot can yield greater dividends than the same hurdle last season.

“Jimmy’s great fella,” Murphy says, he’s fitted in really well and has obviously got good experience from the southern hemisphere and also Newcastle. He has worked well with a lot of young guys that are around  and he looks like he’ll be a really good player for us.”

For many, Gopperth was the forgotten signing approaching the new season as many presume Madigan will be the only choice for big games.

“It’s not the case and it’s not what we would want here,” Murphy underlines.

“We always want competition for places. We want people to have to aim up to play for the team. Jimmy and Mads will have a great little battle for that number 10 slot and we’re looking forward o seeing how that works out.”

The skills coach says that Madigan appears much more comfortable with the entire setup after a year in which he topped the Pro12 scoring charts and won his first international caps.

“[Madigan} has worked a lot on aspects of his game; his kicking, in calling things and in how he executes. It will be a big season for him."

From Madigan's point of view, the 24-year-old will hope to avoid another scenario where he is asked to play any one of three positions along the back-line.

However, with the the name Lote Tuqiri being floated as a potential last minute back-three recruit, it appears that Madigan will at least be able to focus on duties within the 10-12 channel.

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