Ian Madigan set to join Pat Lam at Bristol as Bordeaux agree release

BRISTOL ARE CLOSE to confirming the signing of Irish out-half Ian Madigan ahead of next season.

The42 understands that the 31-times capped Ireland international will be released from his contract with Top 14 side Bordeaux a year early in order to join the England club on a contract worth in excess of €500,000 per season.

Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Current Connacht coach Pat Lam will take over as head coach of Bristol this summer, while the Premiership outfit has also secured the services of All Black international Steven Luatua and Samoan centre Alapati Leiua.

However, Bristol look destined for relegation from the top flight of English rugby, with today’s 41-24 defeat to fellow strugglers Worcester leaving them seven points adrift at the bottom of the table.

That means Madigan now faces the prospect of playing Championship rugby next season, although Bristol would be heavy favourites to bounce straight back up within a year.

The Championship’s play-off system, which had previously scuppered Bristol’s attempts to regain a Premiership spot, will be scrapped from next season onwards, meaning the table-topping side will be promoted without needing to win knock-out games.

That said, Bristol will be doing everything in their power to retain their Premiership status over the next five rounds of action under interim head coach Mark Tainton.

Madigan’s move to Bordeaux has not worked out as hoped, with the Irish out-half unhappy with several aspects of life under Raphaël Ibañez.

The 27-year-old made his concerns extremely clear when speaking on a visit home to Dublin two weeks ago, and he was once again on the bench for UBB as they lost 32-9 to Stade Français in the Top 14 today.

Madigan is a highly accomplished place kicker. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Madigan has fallen behind New Zealander Simon Hickey in the out-half pecking order, with a groin injury in November having come at an inopportune time after the Irishman had made a positive start to life in Bordeaux.

His openness about his concerns around the club meant it was never likely that Madigan would remain with UBB beyond this summer and it’s now understood that club president Laurent Marti is prepared to cut him loose after one season of a two-year deal.

Bristol, backed by billionaire owner Stephen Lansdown, are believed to have made an extremely lucrative offer to Madigan to come onboard at out-half, and he is now set to work with Lam from next summer onwards on a contract that will see him become one of the highest-earning Irish rugby players.

The outgoing Connacht boss’ attacking philosophy would appear to be something that Madigan will embrace, while the playmaker’s superb place-kicking also meant he was sought after in the market when his possible availability became apparent.

Northampton, Sale and Worcester are all understood to have made enquiries about the out-half, but he is now set to make a move to Bristol this summer.

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