Former Wales No8 Andy Powell has made a controversial call online that Ireland should turn to sacked fly-half Paddy Jackson.
Ireland are losing No.10s at an alarming rate currently after Billy Burns was taken off with a head injury during the loss to France on Sunday in the Guinness Six Nations.
The Ulster out half was already stepping in to replace Johnny Sexton, who was also unavailable with a head injury sustained against Wales the week before.
Though the injury situation may look different for Andy Farrell’s squad after a week’s break, Powell nonetheless thinks the London Irish pivot should be given another chance. As far as opinions go in the game, there are not many more contentious.
“Looking at Ireland’s problem at 10 I’d be fair to say that Paddy Jackson is a class act for London Irish. It would be good to see him back in the Ireland set up.”
Looking at Ireland’s problem at 10 I’d be fair to say that paddy Jackson is a class act for London Irish it be good to see him back in the Ireland set up
— Andy Powell (@andypowell8) February 14, 2021
The Welshman’s opinion has not proven to be wholly popular online, as Jackson is a divisive figure in Ireland.
The 29-year-old was acquitted of rape alongside former teammate Stuart Olding in 2018, but was sacked by the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster after some messages were revealed from a WhatsApp conversation.
On top of that, by virtue of playing in England Jackson is effectively out of contention to play for Ireland. On form alone, the 25-cap Irishman has to be credited for his performances for the Exiles this season. His boot has been decisive for Declan Kidney’s side, and he has produced some of the standout moments of the season, chiefly sealing a 27-27 draw with Harlequins in January.
As for his international career, it seems unlikely that he will return to Ireland during his playing days, and a brief glimpse at the comments under Powell’s post suggests how controversial it would be if he were to.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now