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Published: 12:32 | 29/1/16

Best backs Madigan's France move

New Ireland captain believes out-half is making correct choice

Rory Best has backed Ireland international team-mate Ian Madigan's decision to move from Leinster to Bordeaux but doesn't believe the move points to a new trend.

Marty Moore signed a contract with Wasps to move from Leinster this summer while Simon Zebo and Keith Earls have also been heavily linked with a switch abroad, although the latter agreed a deal this week to extend his stay with Munster.

However, while Best is pleased Madigan has made the decision to move, he does not feel it is the start of a flood of Irish players moving to the French Top 14 and English Premiership.

"Ultimately Ian Madigan moved because he wants to go and get top-flight rugby," Best told RTÉ Sport. "He’s competing against one of the best out-halves in the world [in Johnny Sexton] which is obviously going to limit his game time.

"He’s made a big decision to go away and say, ‘I’m going to go a different avenue to try and become Ireland’s number one No 10', and credit to that.

"But I wouldn't necessarily say it’s a worry. If you look at it across the Premiership and the Top 14, there are a lot more players moving clubs and moving around regularly.

"In Ireland because it doesn’t happen very often whenever we get one or two and maybe another one rumoured to go it becomes a big deal."

The Ulster hooker admitted he was offered chances to leave the province during his career but was never really tempted.

“There’s always been around contract time an option that ‘this club needs a hooker, or that club needs a hooker’, but for me dealing with the IRFU has always been reasonably straightforward," he continued.

"They’ve been fair to me and the way I like to conduct my business is, if they give me a fair offer I want to stay in Ulster and play with Ireland.

“From my point of view it’s always gone fairly seamlessly because the IRFU have been good at conducting their business.

“If I get a fair offer, I’m happy to negotiate around that. If there wasn’t a fair offer then your hands can sometimes be forced.

“Ulster have been really good to me. From a fairly young age they put a lot of trust in me. They didn’t try to sign foreigners in the hooker spot and sort of said to me, ‘we’re going to trust you to grow into that position and if after a couple of years you haven’t, then we’ll maybe look’.

"But always being a starter at Ulster has helped me in that I haven’t had to search elsewhere to try to find first-team rugby."

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