Is Ian Madigan What Munster Are Missing?
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News broke yesterday that the IRFU are proposing a centralised contract for Ian Madigan that would see the Leinster man make the short journey down south to rivals Munster.
Could he be the missing piece of the puzzle for Anthony Foley’s men? We think he might just me. It’s been proven in the past that you simply cannot build a top team without two things- a top quality outhalf and a strong leader in the pack. Dan Carter and Richie McCaw anyone? Jonny Wilkinson and Martin Johnson? The list goes on.
Munster may have lost Paul O’Connell but Peter O’Mahony is more than capable of filling the Toulon mans boots. Add in the emergence of CJ Stander’s natural leadership and Munster now have two of the countries best pack leaders. Munster’s problem lies with their outhalf.
The issue with Munster at the minute, is while it may be a little unfair to single a player out, is the fact that current outhalf Ian Keatley simply isn’t the kind of standard that a team of Munster’s size requires. Ronan O’Gara was one of the best outhalves the country has ever seen and was always going to be difficult to replace, but Keatley has been given more than enough time and has proven he just simply isn’t good enough to be an international level outhalf- nevermind the next Ronan O’Gara. If Keatley didn’t have one of the world’s best scrumhalves in the form of Conor Murray next to him- things could be even worse.
You cannot win trophies without an outhalf of international standard, it is as simple as that. Your outhalf is your defensive leader in the backline, he is your first form of attack. He is the man, who in many games- decides who wins. How many times has Jonny Sexton, Ronan O’Gara, Dan Carter or Jonny Wilkinson to name but a few, been the difference in a game?
At 26, Ian Madigan has achieved beyond all expectations. He has always been number two at Leinster. Both Jimmy Gopperth and Jonny Sexton were favoured. To achieved what he has achieved without being handed the torch is phenomenal. If Munster hand him the torch to lead their line, who knows how good Madigan can get? JJ Hanrahan was beginning to show massive potential, but Munster let him slip through their hands… Munster fans will be hoping that Madigan will slip in.