Belfast Telegraph

We must push on or victory over Toulouse is meaningless: Jackson

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster are only halfway to righting their Champions Cup campaign after Friday's huge win over Toulouse, according to Paddy Jackson.

The teams will lock horns again on Sunday and the province's out-half believes the memorable 38-0 victory will count for nothing if Les Kiss' men can't replicate the win in the south of France this weekend.

"I think we can't get too far ahead of ourselves," he stressed.

"It'll be nice to look back on the game and see how things played into our hands but you look back a few years ago at Northampton in the back-to-backs (in 2012), where we ran away with it over there and they came back here and beat us.

"It's happened to a lot of teams, it's happened to Leinster a few times.

"It's something we have to talk about. These back-to-backs are always tough."

For Ulster, the five-try explosion on Friday was a welcome development for a side who had managed just three scores in their four games immediately following the World Cup.

Jackson, whose willingness to play right on the gainline caused Toulouse all sorts of problems, was thrilled to see the work the team have put in under new Director of Rugby Kiss start to pay off.

"We said that we had a lot of work to do on the training park and we've been training well," said the 23-year-old.

"It's nice to see that come through on the pitch. We left a few tries out there against Edinburgh last time out but we've made up for it now.

"We wanted to stay away from their big pack; standing in the tunnel, they're big guys.

"Just before half-time they were blowing and that meant we'd done our job and the strategy paid off.

"The way they defended suited my style of rugby, I think I only kicked the ball out of hand once.

"I like to take the ball to the line and it was a night that definitely worked for me."

Having been largely unused during Ireland's World Cup campaign - a cameo off the bench against Romania was his only outing at the tournament - Jackson was pleased to feel he was once again finding the rhythm that saw him end last season in a rich vein of form.

"Since coming back, after not playing for so long, I've been trying to find my feet a bit," he said.

"I don't think I've been playing badly, just maybe not as well as I could. We started to run the ball a bit and I was glad to be a part of it.

"We knew they had a big pack so we wanted to move them about, we talked a lot about that as a backline.

"We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to organise the forwards and we're just glad that I got the backline moving again."

The win saw Ulster put the disappointment of the pool-opening home defeat to Saracens behind them with Jackson revealing that it was the need to bounce back from that result, rather than their lengthening injury list, that dominated the squad's pre-match thoughts.

"We have a lot of faith in the squad," he said. "What we focused on was the Saracens game and how there wasn't much of a buzz around here.

"We're just glad we brought that back."

Belfast Telegraph


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