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

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.”

The IRFU, controlled in this regard by performance director David Nucifora and Joe Schmidt, have hardened the unwritten rule of prioritising players who choose to remain in Ireland.

Wasps tighthead prop Marty Moore has also been overlooked for selection by Schmidt with Finlay Bealham and currently John Ryan making the Six Nations bench.

Bristol have already announced the signing of All Black backrow Steven Luatua for next season’s probable tilt at promotion from the Championship.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.