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Six Nations Rugby: George Hook's jibes don't bother me, says Jared Payne

By Ruaidhri O'Connor

Jared Payne has insisted he hasn't been affected by criticism of his role in Ireland's defeat to Wales - but the Ulster star conceded he is an easy target because he qualified to play for his adopted country through residency.

The centre was described as a "second-rate foreign player" by outspoken analyst George Hook after Saturday's defeat at the Millennium Stadium, but he refused to rise to the bait as preparations continued for this weekend's finale in Scotland.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions," said Payne.

"I didn't hear it all. I haven't really watched any of that sort of thing. People who say that type of stuff have their opinions."

Asked about the sacrifices he has made to move to Belfast from New Zealand and spend three years with Ulster in order to qualify, he said: "It's a fairly big one, isn't it?

"You only get to see your parents four weeks out of the year.

"It is a fairly big thing leaving your family and your home and all of your mates. But I have no regrets about it."

Belfast Telegraph


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