Thursday 22 March 2018

Ulster hero Paddy Jackson hails Rory Best's half-time rallying call

Paddy Jackson kicking a conversion. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / Sportsfile
Paddy Jackson kicking a conversion. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ulster hero Paddy Jackson last night hailed captain Rory Best for inspiring his team to come from 23-0 down to beat Oyonnax away from home and keep their European season alive.

The out-half, who kicked the winning penalty from inside his own half, revealed that the Ireland hooker - who is one of the main contenders to be named Joe Schmidt's skipper for the Six Nations - had left the dressing-room in no uncertain terms as to what was needed to get the win.

"In fairness to Rory, the way he got the boys rallied in the changing room at half-time was something special," he said.

"I've never been in a situation like that before where we've been so far behind and to see Rory get the boys going was something pretty special to watch.

"There were a few heads down looking at the floor, and I can't repeat some of the words he actually used, but you could see the fire in his eyes and how much this club means to him and how big this game was.

"He's been talking about history all week and I think it's the first time we've won in France twice in one season.

"Look, we just said we're going to have to go out and win. We've got 40 minutes to do it ... and with a lot more swear words."

Jackson was one of three senior players introduced by Les Kiss at half-time as the northern province attempted to keep their European season alive.

The out-half had been given a rest for most of the week, only partaking in a half-day's training, having been involved in Ireland camp, and it appeared to have worked wonders.

A week after missing two chances from the tee to beat Munster, Jackson made no mistake under higher stakes at Stade Mathon.

"It's different from last week. I struggled a bit last week," he said.

"Obviously, the footing here (on the 4G pitch) is a lot different, much firmer to what it was like last week in Kingspan.

"It's something I've come to learn that I'm going to be in these situations more often. So if I get them, it's obviously brilliant, but if not then one minute you're the hero, one minute you're the bad guy, so I was just delighted to get it.

"I've been striking the ball well all week and like I said it's a firm pitch out there so my plant foot felt good and I was just pretty confident that I felt good in the warm-up and I'd been striking the ball well.

"What we did in the second-half, when we've been playing well this season, that's exactly what it's looked like. So it's good to know that we can claw our way back from such a deficit."

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