Madigan hails ‘magician’ Michalak

Date published: October 6 2015

Ireland back Ian Madigan has described Frédéric Michalak as the heartbeat of the French side ahead of their meeting this week.

The two Six Nations sides will battle it out for top spot in Pool D having already qualifed for the knockout stages.

Michalak impressed in France's recent win over Canada and Madigan is prepared for anything from the Toulon star this weekend.

"Freddie is a brilliant talent and his record speaks for itself. He's a magician. He is a player who can pull the rabbit out of the hat and I think he is the heartbeat of the French side," Madigan said.

"He is someone that we will certainly be trying to keep an eye on. When you are at a World Cup you want to be playing against the best and he is certainly one of those."

Ireland's tough 16-9 win over Italy came at just the right time in Madigan's opinion, as they prepare for bigger challenges ahead.

Madigan added: "I think the timing of the Italian game was good, it was exactly what we needed. We had some good performances against Canada and Romania, but we knew that the Italy game would be a step up – and it certainly was. They were fighting for their lives to stay in the competition and their line speed and tackling was very good.

"They are a really hard team to break down. We know that we weren't at our best, but it was the test we meeded going into the French game."

The 26-year-old also believes that the wealth of experience inside Ireland's squad of knockout rugby with their provinces will stand them in good stead, along with having defeated France in the Six Nations.

"I think the team we have has a lot of experience in the big games," he said.

"Munster and Leinster have had a great success and Ulster too. And then you have Ireland having won back-to-back Six Nations. That can only be a good thing.

"For us, it's about going back to what works for you. The support this weekend will be phenomenal and we have lots of good memories from playing in the Millennium (Stadium). Munster and Leinster have won the Heineken Cup there and we have had some good victories against Wales."