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I'm open to joining any of the provinces, insists Madigan

By Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ian Madigan has given a strong indication that he wishes to leave Bordeaux and return to Ireland and says he would listen to offers from all four provinces.

The Ireland out-half has another year to run on the contract he signed before this season, but having fallen out of favour he has held talks with club president Laurent Marti about his future and could be allowed to leave early.

Details of that conversation appeared in the French media earlier this week with the player linked with a host of English clubs. The move to France has cost the 27-year-old his place in the Ireland pecking order, and he wants to resurrect his international career.

The only way to do that is to move back into the Irish system. Munster's Rassie Erasmus has already ruled out a move, while his international rivals Johnny Sexton and Paddy Jackson are starters at Leinster and Ulster meaning Connacht would be the most likely destination.

"A move back to Ireland would certainly excite me," he said. "Playing for Ireland is still the ultimate. The reason I made the move was to improve as a player.

"The reason why I had that conversation with our president is because I didn't feel that I had the confidence of the coaches or felt valued as a player.

"Returning to Leinster would no doubt be top of my list. Living (in Dublin), all my friends are here, having played for Leinster; it's a special place but I would certainly be open to playing for any of the provinces."

Meanwhile, Sexton is expected to return to the Ireland team for Saturday's clash with France if he comes through this morning's training session unscathed.

Replacing Jackson with Sexton and reinstating Rory Best and Jack McGrath would appear to be the only changes on Joe Schmidt's agenda if Rob Kearney also proves his fitness with Andrew Trimble and Peter O'Mahony coming on to the bench.

IRELAND (Possible team v France): R Kearney; K Earls, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, S Zebo; J Sexton, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best (capt), T Furlong; D Ryan, D Toner; CJ Stander, S O'Brien, J Heaslip. Reps: N Scannell, C Healy, J Ryan, I Henderson, P O'Mahony, K Marmion, P Jackson, A Trimble.

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