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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Sunday, March 10th 2019

‘On-field leadership key to victory’ - Madigan

Match-winner Ian Madigan hailed Bristol Bears’ on-field leadership after the Irish fly half’s 87th-minute touchline conversion steered his side to a first win at Franklin’s Gardens in 12 years.

Madigan landed the killer blow, after Piers O’Conor’s stoppage time try had levelled the scores, to cap a frenetic final period that saw four Northampton players sent to the sin-bin by referee Christophe Ridley.

And the 29-year-old hailed the calming influence of the Bristol Bears leaders amid a chaotic finale.

“I think we were very lucky that we had so many incredible leaders out on the pitch at the end to close it out – the likes of Steven Luatua, George Smith, guys who have been in high pressure situations before,” he said.

“They knew just to calm it down and go through our processes – be it at the lineout, trying to drive them over and getting yellow card after yellow card.

“It’s no fluke that we did that – Pat (Lam) and the coaching staff consistently put us under pressure in training, so that when we’re put under pressure in games, it doesn’t feel unnatural to us and we’re able to do it."

Ian Madigan, fly half

“To be patient enough to go to the scrum and then even to have Callum (Sheedy) there to step up, make a clear call to the back line and then execute it. Then, it was a fantastic finish from Piers (O’Conor).

“It’s no fluke that we did that – Pat (Lam) and the coaching staff consistently put us under pressure in training and put us in situations like that and make us execute in training, so that when we’re put under pressure in games, it doesn’t feel unnatural to us and we’re able to do it.

“It’s massive for us, it’s our first back-to-back win in the Premiership, it’s our first away win, so that’s a big step forward for this group and we really need to kick on from it now and continue to climb up this table.”