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Seven Outhalf Options For Munster And Leinster To Target Now That Madigan Is Gone

Seven Outhalf Options For Munster And Leinster To Target Now That Madigan Is Gone
By Conor O'Leary Updated
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Ian Madigan's move to Bordeaux leaves a hole in the Irish rugby stocks for outhalf. The IRFU were vocal in their attempts to spread their assets around the provinces, and wanted Madigan to get first team rugby in Munster. Leinster will now be looking at finding a replacement back-up outhalf behind Johnny Sexton.

Who is available? We've found seven options, some more suited to Munster, and some more suited to Leinster - all should be available.

Christian Leali'ifano

Nominally an inside centre for the Brumbies and Australia, Leali'ifano started his career at out-half, and is probably a better playmaker from the pivot position than one out. His contract with the Brumbies runs out at the end of the 2016 season, which is the next time a southern hemisphere player would be available to move.

He wasn't included in Australia's World Cup squad, and despite a mass exodus after the World Cup, the options for Cheika at 10/12 could mean that Leali'ifano is willing to take a move north.

Ihaia West

The ginger Maori would be right at home in Ireland. The 23-year-old's only experience of international rugby is for the Maori's, so he would count as a project player. West is best described as a New Zealand version of Ian Madigan - who seems more likely to reject Munster and head to France. West's flair shines even in New Zealand, and he is being afforded the opportunity to learn the nuances of the out-half position for the Blues.

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His goal-kicking is remarkably good, and his game management continues to improve. His contract runs out at the end of 2016 too.

Kyle Godwin

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Similar to Leali'ifano, Kyle Godwin was also brought up as an out-half. While Godwin looks more at home in the centres, the promising Western Force youngster has failed to break into the Wallabies to earn a cap, and could use a move to reignite his promise.

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Could be a long term answer at 12, and would help Keatley to guide Munster around the park from there. His contract also runs out at the end of 2016.

Johan Goosen

Formerly South Africa's answer at fly-half, Goosen's move to Racing Metro hasn't worked out. Sound familiar? Except Goosen's Racing contract lasts until 2017, and he now seems to be stuck behind Dan Carter and Remi Tales. There has been a mooted move back to South Africa already, so it does appear that Goosen would be available. He's probably the most complete option out there for Munster, although he would be the most expensive option available to them.

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Simon Hickey

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7rhYiZftUo

The talented New Zealander was one of the best Kiwi flyhalves to play for the under-20 side since Beauden Barrett and Aaron Cruden, and he did so twice when an U-19. The 21-year-old had a falling out with the Blues management, and moved to Bordeaux on an eight month deal this season. Now that Madigan will be moving to Bordeaux, Hickey could be up for grabs.

This is a talent that Irish rugby should be targetting to play for the national side in three years even if you don't like the project player rule. Hickey is that good.

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Ross Byrne

Like Ringrose, Byrne was the star of the Ireland U-20's for the last two seasons. He made his Leinster debut during the World Cup and acquitted himself well. He's probably the biggest beneficiary of Madigan's departure, and should get more opportunities now. He's a flyhalf in the mould of Johnny Sexton, and we profiled the youngster here already.

Tyler Bleyendaal

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Getting Tyler Bleyendaal back would feel like a new signing. Despite moving to Munster at the start of last season, injuries have meant that the New Zealander (signed as a centre, but only comfortable at out-half), has only made a handful of appearances. If Bleyendaal gets a good run in the team, he will prove to be the out-half that Munster are looking for, and is good enough to become a legitimate contender for an Ireland cap in two years.

See Also: The Ireland Team That Will Start The Six Nations Vs The One That Should

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