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'Really good for us since he arrived': Irish verdict on Jackson

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Juan Gasparini/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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London Irish boss Declan Kidney has saluted the positive influence that in-form Paddy Jackson is currently wielding despite the club enduring a winless eleven-match streak in the Gallagher Premiership. Not since last March versus Bath have the Exiles registered a W in the English top-flight, but they have drawn two of their last four games and would have beaten Gloucester if Jackson’s late drop goal attempt had hit the target. 


That late-game disappointment aside, Kidney is delighted with the form being shown at Irish by Jackson, the 29-year-old who came to the Premiership for the 2019/20 season following a one-year pitstop at Perpignan in France following his controversial exit from Ulster.

He has since gone on to start 37 Premiership matches for the English club, all but four of them at out-half, and he has contributed 265 points, all but five from the kicking tee. He is also part of the three-strong leadership group at the club, himself and half-back partner Nick Phipps backing up skipper Matt Rogerson.  

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With a sixth consecutive start in six games this season likely this Saturday away to Exeter, Kidney is enjoying what he is seeing from his talisman “Paddy has been very important, a real driver within the group, pushing up standards,” Kidney told RugbyPass about the player who had to rebuild his career outside Ireland after the IRFU terminated his contract in April 2018, putting an end to a Test run that consisted of 25 caps.

“He just gives the team everything and when you have players in that role giving it everything like that, it breeds into all the other players around the club then too. He has been really good for us since he arrived.”

It was Kidney who gave Jackson his first Ireland Test start as a 21-year-old back in 2013 versus Scotland. That alliance didn’t last long, though, as Kidney didn’t have his IRFU contract renewed following that year’s fifth-place Six Nations finish. How different a player was Jackson when he came to work again with Kidney six-and-a-half years later? “Look, more experienced. Your first international is always a freebie so he is now just a more mature player, his understanding of the game, his role in it, it just goes with experienced players so he is playing really well at the moment.


“They are similar in their approach to the game,” added the coach in reference to the half-back partnership that Jackson has built at Irish with Phipps, the ex-Wallabies scrum-half. “They are very diligent, they talk a lot about it so the coordination between the two of them isn’t an accident, it’s something that they work on a lot.”


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