Belfast Telegraph

Jackson backed to silence the doubters

By Conor George

Sometimes it takes a visitor to see things as they really are.

As Ireland limped through their Six Nations campaign Springbok star Ruan Pienaar watched as his Ulster team-mate Paddy Jackson suffered from a detritus of derision.

Shoehorned into the side as Ireland coach Declan Kidney's succession planning at out-half was haplessly exposed following injury to Jonny Sexton, Jackson experienced an international baptism of blistering fire.

As Jackson's fledgling reputation was tossed gleefully from one extreme to the other Pienaar couldn't help but affectingly shake his head at the theatre of the absurd.

"Paddy has done really well and he got the recognition that he deserved with that call-up to the Irish team for the Six Nations," says the steely utility half-back.

"It's only the second season he's been involved with the senior (Ulster) side and he's a quality young player. He's just going to get better and better. People just focus on the negatives, the things that he doesn't do quite so well compared to all the good things he can do. Off the pitch, he's a confident player, he has lots of good inputs. He has a great future and he'll play many more Tests for Ireland."

Belfast Telegraph


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