Ian Madigan to join Pat Lam after signing Bristol deal
Ireland international signs three-year deal with English club worth over €1.5m
Ian Madigan will join Bristol from Bordeaux-Begles in a deal worth over €1.5 million over three years. Photograph: Nicolas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland international outhalf Ian Madigan has signed a three-year deal worth over €1.5 million to join Pat Lam at Bristol.
After publicly expressing discontent with how Bordeaux-Bégles was being run, coupled with losing his place to 23-year-old Simon Hickey, club president Laurent Marti granted Madigan early release from his two-year contract.
It’s increasingly likely that Lam and Madigan will spend their first season at the English club, funded by 64-year-old billionaire Stephen Lansdown, outside the Premiership. Bristol are currently seven points adrift of Worcester at the bottom of the table with five games remaining in the regular season.
“The opportunity to come to England and prove myself here is one that I relish,” said Madigan. “Bristol Rugby has a clear vision for what they want to achieve and the club’s philosophy match my own ambitions.
“I know the expansive style of rugby that (incoming head coach) Pat (Lam) and his coaching team want to play and that excites me.
“I was so impressed with the vision that was laid out to me, it made it an easy decision to commit to Bristol.
“The culture that the club are building, coupled with a city that loves its rugby, is something that really appeals to me.
“I’m looking forward to representing Bristol in front of the passionate supporters at Ashton Gate.”
Madigan will compete with Gavin Henson and England international Shane Geraghty for the 10 jersey. Samoa outhalf Tusi Pisi is also on Bristol’s books.
However, the 31-times capped Ireland international must see out the remainder of his first and last season in Bordeaux as the club only have two outhalves following Lionel Beauxis’s switch to Lyon.
Madigan’s new contract, which runs until July 2020, while lucrative could jeopardise his international career.
“A return to Leinster would no doubt be top of my list,” the 27-year-old said recently, “but I would certainly be open to playing for any of the provinces.”
However, Madigan – who is represented by Ryan Constable – appears to have priced himself out of the Irish market while his departure last summer cleared the road for new talent to blossom under Stuart Lancaster.
Leinster recently announced Ross Byrne and Joey Carbery have signed senior contracts to understudy for Johnny Sexton while Ian Keatley has added to his caps during the Six Nations when Sexton was injured.
“Yeah, a move back to Ireland would certainly excite me,” Madigan added last month. “There’s no doubt in my mind about that. Playing for Ireland is still the ultimate for me.”
Bristol have already announced the signing of All Black backrow Steven Luatua for next season’s probable tilt at promotion from the Championship.