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Madigan happy to bide his time for Irish chance

Ian Madigan has strong ambitions to play for Ireland but, for now, he is focusing all his attention on improving his game with Leinster.

The 22-year-old out-half has been a major success story this season, scoring six tries in 13 appearances for the province following the early injury to Mat Berquist, and has looked increasingly confident filling in for Jonathan Sexton when the Ireland international has been unavailable.

It has placed Madigan firmly in the mix for the third Ireland out-half slot behind Ronan O'Gara and Sexton, with the Ireland Wolfhounds game against England 'A' at the end of this month an ideal opportunity to assess his international credentials.

However, Madigan says he is concentrating solely on working with Leinster coach Joe Schmidt and will see what happens after that.

“I would be so privileged if I got to play for Ireland, it would absolutely be an ambition of mine,” said Madigan. “To be honest, I'm just working on my own game and working with Joe. If an Ireland 'A' call comes, then well and good, but if it doesn't I won't be too cut up about it. I'll just keep working away here on my game. I'm happy with how the season has gone so far. Obviously with the World Cup and Johnny being away and Mat being injured, it meant I got a good run of games.”

“There's plenty I still need to work on. I'm still quite young and I'm working hard with Joe and Richie (Murphy) our kicking coach.

“I definitely need to work more on my kicking out of hand and my game management. Just controlling the pack and directing them around the pitch a bit better. They're the two main things.”

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While Madigan's point-scoring capacity has been exercised by his running ability and eye for the try-line, place-kicking has not been a feature and he admits it is an area he would like to participate in.

“I've been working on my place-kicking a lot and, to be honest, I would like to be taking the place-kicks. Joe has the overriding call on it though and so far he's had Johnny, Fergus (McFadden) and Isa (Nacewa) kicking.

“In fairness to the lads, they're kicking really well. I think their percentages are over 80pc so I can't be complaining about that. I'm sure I'll get a chance at some stage, but for now I'm happy to bide my time until it comes.”

Meanwhile, Steve Diamond is to take on the role of chief executive officer at Sale Sharks, the Aviva Premiership club have confirmed.

Diamond, the club's current executive director of sport, will begin his new role on February 1 as well as maintaining his current duties.

The club also expect to make announcements on two new signings and their future stadium plans in the coming weeks.

Belfast Telegraph