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'Paddy Jackson has a serious international career ahead of him' - Paul Marshall

The Ulster out-half will soon provide Jonathan Sexton with the main threat for the Ireland 10 jersey.

Paddy Jackson celebrates a Craig Gilroy try against Fiji.
Paddy Jackson celebrates a Craig Gilroy try against Fiji.
Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

PADDY JACKSON HAS made 15 senior starts for Ulster since making his debut against Scarlets in February 2011.

The Welsh side provide the opposition this Sunday in the RaboDirect Pro12 but many rugby supporters are lingering on the past two Ireland games that gave a glimpse towards the international future.

Ireland’s players spoke incessantly about the exceptional training sessions they were having before their three November series matches.

Nonetheless, it was not until Fiji were riddled 53-0 that every member of the squad bought into the idea of Ireland’s new dawn.

Ulster scrum-half Paul Marshall played as a second-half replacement in the comprehensive Fiji win.

He told TheScore.ie, “The young fellas that played in the Fiji game encouraged the older guys that this was something that was real.”

One to watch

Marshall and Jackson have appeared seven times for Ulster this season during the side’s 11-match unbeaten run.

As second-half replacements in September, they combined for 13 points to snatch a 16-13 away win over champions Ospreys.

They started their next four matches together, including a 41-7 Heineken Cup win against Castres, and have linked up well as a half-back pairing to set off a dynamic Ulster backline.

Marshall, seven years Jackson’s senior, went to the same primary and secondary [Methody] schools as the out-half and reveals he was a star in the making. Marshall said:

I’ve seen him play since he was an 11-year-old and coming up through the system. I’m really pleased to see how he has taken his talent up a level each time he’s been asked. He has a serious international career ahead of him.”

Marshall believes that more of his provincial teammates can earn Six Nations call-ups if they continue their current run of form.

He said, “Craig [Gilroy] scored a fantastic hat-trick against Fiji and then backed it up the next week against Argentina.

“Luke Marshall and Iain Henderson did well too and showed they could step up to international level.

“They are backing up their performances with Ulster for Ireland and you can see the confidence they is playing with.”

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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