Rugby

Ulster star Jackson turns down England move

2017-03-01 19:16
Paddy Jackson in action here for an Ireland XV against Fiji in November 2012 (AFP)

Belfast - Ireland's second choice fly-half Paddy Jackson spurned advances from English Premiership suitors by signing a new two-year contract with his province Ulster on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old - capped 22 times since making his Test debut in 2014 - attracted attention from the likes of Northampton and Bristol after impressing as Johnny Sexton's understudy in the national side.

With previous reserve playmaker Iain Madigan overlooked after joining French outfit Bordeaux-Begles, Jackson has seen more game time and started both of Ireland's opening two Six Nations games against Scotland and Italy with Sexton sidelined.

"I'm delighted to be staying on at Ulster Rugby for at least another two years; it is such a proud moment for myself and my family," said Jackson, who has 118 appearances to his name since making his debut for Ulster in 2011.

"Every time I pull on the Ulster jersey it is something that I don't want to take for granted and I hope to continue to grow as a player and contribute to this team in a positive way.

"I believe that the pillars for success are in place here at Ulster with a quality squad and management team."

Les Kiss, Ulster's rugby director, said with Jackson's commitment he could start building a team around him.

"To have Paddy commit to Ulster for a further two seasons is a huge boost," said Kiss.

"He progressed through the academy structures here and has grown into a fantastic player and leader, who commands the respect of the entire squad.

"He is the type of player that we can build the team around and it's important that we have home-grown talent at the forefront of what we're trying to achieve here. His ability and leadership will be critical for us in the future.

"Paddy's form over the past few years has been widely acknowledged and it was no surprise that there was a lot of interest in him from other big European clubs."

Read more on:    ulster  |  rugby
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