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Ulster Rugby confirm signing of Bristol fly-half Ian Madigan

 

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Ian Madigan is set to join Ulster Rugby.

Ian Madigan is set to join Ulster Rugby.

Ian Madigan is set to join Ulster Rugby.

Ulster have finalised a move to bring Bristol fly-half Ian Madigan back to Irish shores this summer, as Belfast Telegraph exclusively revealed on Saturday morning.

The former Leinsterman, who will turn 31 next week and can also play inside centre, left the RDS for Bordeaux-Begles in the summer of 2016, spending one lucrative year in the Top14 before signing on at Ashton Gate.

A key figure in his side's promotion campaign, he has fallen down the pecking order under former Connacht boss Pat Lam at the Premiership side and has saw his playing time limited this season by the emergence of Callum Sheedy.

"It’s great news that Ian has chosen to make the move to Ulster for the upcoming season," said coach Dan McFarland.

“Given Ian’s skillset, and the fit it can have with our style of play, I’m confident he will be a valuable addition to our squad both on and off the pitch, where he will bring a bank of experience to a group of talented young out-halves.

“I look forward to welcoming him to our province.”

Ulster have deployed Billy Burns as their primary number ten option since the 25-year-old arrived from Gloucester in the summer of 2018 but, while still uncapped, he has been involved in national squads since the turn of the year and could miss significant chunks of next season if he remains in Andy Farrell's plans.

In his absence, summer signing Bill Johnston had impressed following a shaky start to his Ulster career while the versatile young duo of Mike Lowry and Angus Curtis are also able to play fly-half.

Well known to former Leinster team-mates already at Kingspan Stadium like John Cooney, Jordi Murphy, Jack McGrath and Marty Moore, Madigan would give Dan McFarland an added experienced option and has previously voiced his willingness to return to Ireland.

 

"My contract is up in Bristol at the end of the season," Madigan told Independent.ie's Left Wing podcast earlier this year,

"I'm going through that process at the moment and maybe potentially looking at coming back home, all the Irish provinces are going as strong as ever and you would love to be involved there again, but you just have to wait and see.

"I'd be open to playing at any of the provinces, be that Leinster, Munster, Connacht or Ulster. There are great things going on with Andy Friend in Connacht and Dan McFarland in Ulster.

"Munster and Leinster are strong as ever, it would be a joy to play with any of the provinces."

Belfast Telegraph