Donncha O'Callaghan may have ruined Ian Madigan's planned move to England already
Ian Madigan may not have envisaged playing in the second tier of English club rugby when he returned from Ireland's tour of South Africa last summer.
All Blacks as teammates. €500,000 a year salary. Playing under Pat Lam. Guaranteed starting run as outhalf.
They are four reasons that Ian Madigan will fall back on as he follows the progress of Bristol in the Aviva Premiership over the coming months.
The Ireland outhalf looks to have secured the early release he sought from his Bordeaux-Beglés contract after less than a season with the Top 14 club.
Madigan was hopeful of a return to Ireland and told us, in February, that he would happily play for any of the Irish provinces.
Leinster, his former club, were top of his wishlist but, with Johnny Sexton, Joey Carbery and Ross Byrne on their books, they appear to have moved on. Madigan took a considerable pay hike upon his move to France and he would have been unlikely to secure a similar deal from the IRFU.
When asked about a possible return to these shores, last month, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt commented, "He has sold his rugby skills to Bordeaux and I expect him to honour that deal."
The 27-year-old looks to have gotten his wish to be released a season early from that deal. The42.ie is reporting that Madigan is set to link up with Lam at Bristol next season.
This comes after clubs such as Northampton Saints, Sale and Worcester all expressed an interest in securing his services for next season.
The major catch in this move would be the extreme likelihood of Bristol starting 2017/18 in the English Championship. Mark Tainton's men were heavily beaten by fellow Premiership strugglers Worcester Warriors this afternoon to further sink into relegation trouble.
Worcester, who had Ireland's Donncha O'Callaghan in their second row, blitzed Bristol in the first half and eventually won 41-24 to move seven points clear of them. O'Callaghan played 68 minutes of the match, made a couple of strong carries and landed four big tackles.
In the space of less than two years, Madigan could go from being Ireland's starting 10 in a World Cup quarter final to helping a new-look Bristol side plot their way back from the second tier of English club rugby.