Ian Madigan revealed earlier this season that he would be joining Top 14 side Bordeaux-Begles next season.
Long before the move, rumours were rampant that Joe Schmidt and the IRFU wanted the outhalf to remain in Ireland and a possible move to Munster was on the cards to replace the under-performing Ian Keatley.
While Madigan did admit that Joe Schmidt stated he wanted him to remain in Ireland if possible, he did not state that they were keen for him to move to Munster, nor did an offer materialise.
The conversation I had with Joe, he made it clear to me that he wants me to stay in Ireland, and ultimately it’s where we want Irish players playing. The IRFU have access to you, they can manage you, you’re not overplayed, the fantastic medical facilities we have here.
If you want to have mini-camps or if there’s games outside the international window, they’ve got full control over that. That’s very important, and if I was starting for Leinster, there’s no way I’d move.
Regarding a move to Munster, Madigan said should the opportunity have risen, he would have seriously considered it. He also stated that perhaps should an offer have came in- he may have been more keen on joining the Connacht revolution.
The option that presented itself in Bordeaux was one that came up early on and one that I was committed to from an early stage. Munster are going through a small slump at the moment, but to play for a club like that, with the history they have, would be incredible.
But would I be able to do it? I’ve grown up in Leinster, all my family support Leinster, all my friends support Leinster; it would be really tough. The parochial sense that you have in playing for Leinster or playing for Munster is a pretty special thing in Ireland.
Similarly, when you see the quality brand of rugby that Connacht are playing at the moment, you look at that and I’d say to myself, ‘Jesus, it would be brilliant to be part of that side as well’.
It’s definitely something that I would have thought of, but it never really came to fruition.