Wednesday 12 December 2018

No return to Connacht for Jackson with Perpignan

Jackson has been heavily linked with a move to Lyon at the end of the season and is thought to have a relegation release clause in his contract. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Jackson has been heavily linked with a move to Lyon at the end of the season and is thought to have a relegation release clause in his contract. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Relegation-threatened Top 14 club Perpignan have opted to give Paddy Jackson the weekend off which means he won't play on Irish soil for the first time since leaving Ulster earlier this year.

The French strugglers play Connacht at the weekend in the Challenge Cup, but will leave a number of front-liners behind, including Jackson.

The former Ireland out-half joined the Catalan club last summer after having his IRFU contract revoked following a highly public trial which saw him acquitted on charges of rape along with his former team-mate Stuart Olding, who is now at Brive.

Difficulties

While he has performed well in red and gold, the club have had difficulties on their return to the top flight and are yet to win a game.

Indeed, Jackson has been heavily linked with a move to Lyon at the end of the season and is thought to have a relegation release clause in his contract.

He had said it "would be great to play on Irish soil again," but back-up out-halves Enzo Selponi and Paul Marty have been selected.

Connacht are second in Pool 3, six points behind Premiership side Sale Sharks, who have taken the maximum 10 from their opening two games.

Perpignan are bottom of the pool, having lost to Sale and drawn with Bordeaux Begles.

They visit Galway on Saturday afternoon and host the province at Stade Aime Giral in the return fixture tomorrow week. Jackson could yet feature in that game.

Meanwhile, Ulster should have Iain Henderson and Will Addison back for their Champions Cup trip to Scarlets tomorrow but have only two fit locks after injuries to Alan O'Connor and Ian Nagle this week.

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