Jackson is now ready to run the show
Ruan Pienaar believes Paddy Jackson is ready to take on the mantle of being Ulster's primary creative force. So often since Pienaar's arrival in 2010, the 88-times capped Springbok has been the man the province have looked to in order to kick-start their attacking play, but with his departure now looming, he says the team will be in safe hands with Jackson.
"He was thrown in at the deep end, and fair play to Paddy he got a bit of abuse after that but just bounced back stronger," said the South African.
"He's got a great head on his shoulders and he's got a wealth of experience now.
"He's playing really well and he's very important for us going forward and doing well in Europe and the league."
With Jackson coming into the side at such a young age in 2012, Pienaar was often seen as a steadying hand at scrum-half, but is now sure the 24-year-old was bound for the top with or without his help.
"It's been great to see his growth over the last few years," he added.
"I didn't see him at school but there was a lot expected of him from then. Hopefully in some ways I've helped him develop, but he's a talented player and he deserves all the credit.
"He's definitely putting pressure on Johnny Sexton and it's good for Irish rugby to see two really good No.10s pushing for a starting spot."