"It's always my aspiration to play for Ireland" - Ian Madigan hopeful of making Joe Schmidt's Six Nations squad

The Dubliner starred for Bordeaux-Begles in their win over Ulster in Belfast

BY Daniel Kelly 16:31 Saturday 21 January 2017, 16:31 21 Jan 2017

Ulster's Stuart McCloskey with Ian Madigan and Blair Connor of Bordeaux-Begles Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Ian Madigan played his first game in Ireland on Saturday afternoon, since leaving Leinster for Bordeaux-Begles at the end of last season.

The 27-year-old started for the Top 14 side in their 26-22 win away to Ulster. He scored two penalties and two conversions, before being replaced in the second half.

Speaking to Newstalk Sport's Oisin Langan after the win, Madigan said he is hopeful of being in the Ireland squad ahead of the Six Nations. He was not part of the Autumn Internationals, and has not played internationally since the Third Test of last year's Summer tour in South Africa.

"It's always my aspiration to play for Ireland. If I'm not in the initial squad, hopefully I put my best foot forward today, and make continue to build on form throughout the Six Nations."

After moving to France last summer, Madigan is well aware that playing outside Ireland is not helpful to his international aspirations under head coach Joe Schmidt.

"Joe and the IRFU want their players in Ireland so they can control game time. They can have mini-camps, which can be very important... I completely understand that. For me it's about improving as a player. If I do get the opportunity to wear green, it's the ultimate for me."

"I just focus on the challenges [in Bordeaux] and do my best for [the team]... I feel if I do that well, an Ireland call-up could happen. For me, it's very much about focusing on the now."

With Johnny Sexton's injury for Leinster against Castres on Friday night, Madigan may be back in green sooner than he expects.

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