2024 Leinster Rugby vs Stade Toulousain - Champions Cup Final

Madigan Confident In Leinster's Chances To Defeat Toulouse For Fifth Title

Madigan Confident In Leinster's Chances To Defeat Toulouse For Fifth Title

Ian Madigan believes Leinster can beat Toulouse for its fifth Investec Champions Cup title. His insights on the clash highlight key strategies.

May 23, 2024 by Philip Bendon
Madigan Confident In Leinster's Chances To Defeat Toulouse For Fifth Title

Former Leinster and Ireland fly-half Ian Madigan has confidently asserted that Leinster has the potential to defeat Toulouse and clinch its fifth Investec Champions Cup title. 

Reflecting on his experience with Leinster, where he secured two Heineken Cups in 2011 and 2012, and his subsequent career that included 31 caps for Ireland, Madigan offers his analysis ahead of the highly anticipated clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, set to be broadcast live on FloRugby.

The contest will take place May 25 at 9:45 a.m. Eastern.

Both Leinster and Toulouse have evolved since their last encounter, with Leinster triumphing in the previous two semifinals, including a decisive 41-22 victory last season. 

Madigan emphasized the psychological edge Leinster holds, having consistently outperformed Toulouse in recent matches. 

"Leinster has beaten them well in the last two semifinals, around 20 points, and it’s the style of those wins," he said. "The games were well won at the 50-minute mark. 

However, he acknowledges the dynamic nature of rugby, noting that both teams have improved significantly over the season.

A crucial factor in the final, according to Madigan, will be the performance of the halfbacks. 

Leinster’s Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne will face off against Toulouse’s formidable duo, Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack. 

Underscoring the importance of an aggressive and continuous offensive strategy, Madigan said, "The key against Toulouse is you have to keep your foot on the gas and keep attacking. Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne need to keep calling the ball on themselves and getting it to the right people.” 

Toulouse’s unpredictable and high-paced play demands that Leinster’s halfbacks maintain control and make bold decisions throughout the game.

Reflecting on past performances, Madigan identified areas for his former team to improve, particularly in maintaining an 80-minute performance. He also looked back on Leinster’s struggles against La Rochelle and Northampton, where a failure to exploit space and sustain offensive pressure led to vulnerability.

To counter Toulouse, Madigan insists, Leinster must disrupt its opponent's rhythm from the outset. 

"Where Leinster will come under pressure is if Toulouse can get the front-foot ball, and Dupont starts sniping at the second or third defender beside the breakdown," he warns. 

Containing Dupont and stifling Toulouse’s offloading game is critical to maintaining defensive integrity.

Additionally, Madigan addresses a strategic decision from a recent Leinster match against Ulster. 

In a tight contest, Leinster’s co-captain James Ryan chose a lineout over a kick at goal, a choice that ultimately backfired. Madigan reflects on the importance of decisiveness and confidence in such moments, advocating for quick and clear decision making to instill confidence in the team. 

"I remember as a goal-kicker, the longer the decision took, the more doubt crept in," he said. "A swift call from the captain would immediately instill confidence.

"I absolutely loved it when the penalty was awarded, and within two or three seconds, the captain had already pointed at the posts, and the referee knew, bang, you know you were kicking at the goal.

"You are getting straight into your routine, and you know your captain and your team have total confidence in your kicking ability, and that this is the right decision.

"I’d also have played in teams where you didn’t have to think about the decision; you were a three-point team. When you got the opportunity to keep the scoreboard ticking over, the captain didn’t even have to tell the ref; you were just simply getting the tee on and kicking at goal.”

Looking ahead, Madigan expresses concern over potential injury-related absences, such as Garry Ringrose, but remains optimistic about Leinster’s chances. He emphasised the necessity of pre-planned strategies and the need for proactive discussions about game scenarios to avoid indecision during critical moments.

"Saying that you are going to have situations in games where you need to have a discussion: is your maul going well, is your lineout functioning? The scoreboard, what’s the momentum of the game?

"Those conversations shouldn’t be had when the penalty is awarded; they should be had in advance.

"That’s what I was surprised at; it nearly looked like, 'what are we doing here?’ which was slightly concerning."

How To Watch Rugby Matches In the United States On FloRugby

The Investec Champions Cup will stream all its matches on FloRugby and the FloSports app in the United States. FloRugby and FloSports also are the U.S. home to:

FloRugby also is home to match archives and match replays. 

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