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Ireland 17:00 South Africa

Joe Schmidt expects Ian Madigan to handle Six Nations pressure

Last Updated: 13/03/14 3:15pm

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Ian Madigan: Set to make his first Six Nations appearance this season

Ian Madigan: Set to make his first Six Nations appearance this season

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Joe Schmidt is confident that Ian Madigan can handle the pressure of Ireland's Six Nations title decider in France, despite his lack of top-level experience.

Leinster playmaker Madigan will act as understudy to Johnny Sexton as Ireland attempt to secure the trophy with victory in Paris on Saturday.

Madigan is yet to make a Six Nations appearance this season, but could be thrown into the high pressure encounter, with Ireland targeting just their third win in Paris since 1972.

Head coach Schmidt has faith in seven-cap Madigan, who will cover fly-half, centre and full-back from the bench in Brian O'Driscoll's 141st and final Test appearance.

"He's had a bit of time at 10 with us, definitely not at this level, but those experiences will help him, and it just gives us a little bit more coverage on the bench," said Schmidt.

"He can be a threat to the line, he's started at 10 in the tour last summer, both in the United States and in Canada.

"In Italy last year in the Six Nations he came on and sparked the game up a little bit."

Ireland have made only one change, with Peter O'Mahony replacing Iain Henderson at flanker.

Schmidt feels the Munster skipper is better prepared for France's physicality, especially at the breakdown.

"No disrespect to Iain Henderson, he's still learning at the level and it was a great experience for him last weekend," said Schmidt.

"But Peter's already relatively proficient at the level, and he's played really well for us prior to last weekend.

"So he will bring that threat around the breakdown, the physicality that he expresses on the field, so it's great to have him back."

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