Rugby

Plenty Of Fans Will Agree With Paddy Jackson After Most Frustrating Moment Of France Defeat

Plenty Of Fans Will Agree With Paddy Jackson After Most Frustrating Moment Of France Defeat

This time last week, Stephen Ferris summed up the feelings of the vast majority of Ulster fans when it comes to Joe Schmidt's recent team selections.

There are 14 Leinster lads in the 23 man squad, while lads like Stuart McCloskey - who has probably been the best centre in European rugby in the last four or five months - yet the big man can't make the bench. I just can't get my head round it.

I know that I probably have my Ulster hat on most of the time but for me the selection of Fergus McFadden and to be honest Ian Madigan as well, without Stuart McCloskey and Paddy Jackson on the bench has irritated me a bit.

Sure enough, Ireland went off to France, Johnny Sexton was targeted like we all knew he would be and Ian Madigan was the option from the bench. Ireland conceded with ten minutes still to play and Madigan duly stepped up and kicked the restart out on the full.

It's unfair to ignore everything that Madigan brings to the side by just pointing to one moment but it was something which could be seen to sum up quite a bit of the debate that is raging in Ulster. Are they being given their fair share of representation in the Joe Schmidt's squad.

Paddy Jackson may have disappointed in green in the past but there's no doubt that he has matured to the extent that he is one of the Pro12's very best out-halves. He may not be able to cover as many positions as Madigan but when you have Johnny Sexton exiting the play on such a regular basis, would it not be wiser to opt for the safer pair of hands that Jackson offers?

Advertisement

And as quoted by the Belfast Telegraph today, it would seem that Jackson shares some of those frustrations with his belief that he's done enough to make the squad surely being shared by quite a large proportion of Ireland fans.

It's been very frustrating. I thought I'd possibly done enough to get into that match-day squad but it wasn't meant to be.

Missing out on the World Cup, I felt like I was back in that same position again. Initially I was gutted and really frustrated but then I shook it off and decided I had to keep my head down. All I can affect now is how I play at Ulster and that's what I'm going to focus on.

Jackson went on to state that the disappointment will only serve to spur him on but there's no doubt that he has every right to be frustrated at missing out on the Ireland squad, particularly when you consider how tough Madigan is finding it to get ample game time for Leinster. After that woeful restart from Madigan last weekend, it will certainly be interesting to see if Joe Schmidt decides to reshuffle his options when he names the squad to take on England next week.

See also: Richie McCaw Has Made A Rather Impressive Start To Life As A Retired Athlete

Gary Reilly

You may also like