Rugby

Ireland exile Madigan agrees Bristol switch

2017-03-06 15:04
Ian Madigan (www.leinsterrugby.ie)

London - Irish flyhalf Ian Madigan looks set to remain in the international wilderness after English Premiership strugglers Bristol announced his arrival from Bordeaux on a three-year contract on Monday.

The 27-year-old, capped 31 times by Ireland, left Leinster for Bordeaux last year, but has failed to hold down a regular starting berth in southwest France.

The Irish Rugby Football Union's unwritten rule of not selecting overseas-based players means it is unlikely Madigan's move to Bristol will enable him to rekindle his international career.

"The opportunity to come to England and prove myself here is one that I relish," said Madigan, who will join Bristol at the end of the season.

"Bristol Rugby has a clear vision for what they want to achieve and the club's philosophy match (sic) my own ambitions.

"I was so impressed with the vision that was laid out to me, it made it an easy decision to commit to Bristol."

British press reports said Madigan will earn close to £500 000 a season at Bristol, who are thought to have outbid Northampton to secure his services.

But with Bristol currently seven points adrift at the foot of the Premiership table, he is likely to be playing in the second-tier Championship next season.

Pat Lam will arrive from Connacht to take over as head coach at Bristol at the end of the campaign, while All Blacks flanker Steven Luatua is due to join during the close season.

"Ian is a player we have been looking at for a while," said Bristol's acting head coach Mark Tainton in a press release.

"It's been no secret that we were seeking a world-class flyhalf and - with his age profile and experience - Ian fits the bill perfectly."

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