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Irish stars believe in Jackson, says Best

By Jonathan Bradley

Ireland captain Rory Best says Paddy Jackson has the confidence of the entire squad after usual out-half Johnny Sexton was ruled out of the South Africa tour with a shoulder injury.

Ireland have never beaten the Springboks on their own patch, and the loss of a key figure like Sexton could make rectifying that all the harder, but Best is sure his Ulster team-mate Jackson can put his previous international disappointments behind him and fill the 10 jersey.

"I spoke a lot towards the end of the season about how much Paddy has learned from Johnny," said Best. "The way he conducts himself around Ulster is learning from the way Johnny conducts himself in this (Irish) environment. He knows the plays and runs the plays, he has confidence in that. It's a big opportunity for him, there's no doubt.

"It's a big shirt to fill with what Johnny has done for Ireland and for Leinster but it's a chance for Jacko to come in and put his own slant on it.

"He's surrounded by people that he knows, he's been involved in the camps, he's played a few Tests. He has the confidence of the group, there is no doubt."

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