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Former Ulster fly-half Paddy Jackson signs with London Irish

Paddy Jackson in action for Perpignan (INPHO/Billy Stickland)
Paddy Jackson in action for Perpignan (INPHO/Billy Stickland)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Former Ulster fly-half Paddy Jackson has joined newly-promoted Gallagher Premiership side London Irish for the new season.

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The 26-year-old moves to the Madejski Stadium from French side Perpignan after spending a difficult season in the Top 14.

Jackson links up with head coach Les Kiss, who was his director of rugby while at Ulster, and London Irish's director of rugby Declan Kidney, who awarded him his first Ireland cap in 2013.

Jackson, along with team-mate Stuart Olding, had his contract revoked by the IRFU and Ulster in April of last year following a review of a rape trial in which they were cleared of all charges.

That led to the 25-times capped half-back moving to France to join Catalan side Perpignan, where he was seen as one of the star names following their promotion from the Pro D2.

However, the side have struggled in the top division and their relegation has already been confirmed having won just two games all season.

Now Jackson will get a fresh start as the starting fly-half for one of England's most exciting teams, with plenty of talent around him to help him succeed.

"Players of the calibre of Paddy Jackson do not become available very often and both myself and Les are looking forward to working with him in the future," Kidney commented.

"He is a player with proven international quality who we feel will add value to our squad, and it is pleasing that Paddy sees London Irish as a part of his future."

Jackson added: "I’m delighted to be joining London Irish next season at such an exciting and pivotal time for everyone involved with the club.

"London Irish have a clear vision for where they want to be and I look forward to being part of it."

Jackson's signing is the latest in a series of high-profile announcements from the newly-promoted outfit, who have gone big in their summer dealings.

Along with the fly-half, the Exiles have also secured the signatures of Ireland back row Sean O'Brien, Wallabies trio Sekope Kepu, Nick Phipps and Curtis Rona, and winger Napolioni Nalaga.

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