Monday 11 December 2017

Jackson silences doubters but assured display can’t secure victory for Ulster

Paddy Jackson, Ulster, is tackled by Robert Barbieri, Benetton Treviso.
Paddy Jackson, Ulster, is tackled by Robert Barbieri, Benetton Treviso.
Conor George

Conor George

PADDY JACKSON went some way to answering his critics with an assured kicking display as Ulster drew with Treviso at Ravenhill.

The Irish out-half was wide with his first penalty attempt after 11 minutes but showed tremendous fortitude to follow up with a pair of conversions for Ulster's opening two tries to help the home side into a commanding lead 33 minutes in.

He also sandwiched a penalty in between as he mixed a confident kicking game from hand with accuracy from the tee.

After a brilliant kick to touch on 60 minutes, Jackson showed his inexperience when he panicked with the ball around his feet.

Dean Budd took advantage of his hesitancy and forced his way past for a touchdown.

Jackson's kicking from hand continued to impress, though, and again he helped move Ulster up the field and into a promising position.

The youngster then made light of an illegal charge of his 68th-minute penalty. Jackson initially missed but on the retake added three more points to put Ulster 26-24 ahead.

He kicked his seventh out of nine attempts on 77 minutes to push them into a 29-24 lead. However, the Ulster defence coughed up yet another try at the death, with Budd's hat-trick forcing the draw.

But for Jackson, this was a fruitful night. His place kicking, while not perfect, was impressive, which will give Irish boss Declan Kidney plenty of solace.

Elsewhere Leinster's Ian Madigan also put in a good shift.

The out-half was confident out of hand and converted three of Leinster's four tries.

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