Jackson fit for France clash
March 7, 2013
Ulster's Paddy Jackson has recovered from a hamstring injury and will retain the Ireland No.10 shirt for Saturday's Six Nations clash with France © PA Photos
Ulster fly-half Paddy Jackson has been passed fit for Ireland's Six Nations clash with France in Dublin on Saturday.
Coach Declan Kidney announced his side for the Aviva Stadium clash on Tuesday but opted against naming a fly-half with Jackson struggling with a minor hamstring injury suffered during training. But the 21-year-old has passed a fitness test enabling him to continue in the No.10 jersey and earn his second Test cap with uncapped Leinster playmaker Ian Madigan offering cover from the bench.
Team manager Mick Kearney has also revealed that Munster prop Stephen Archer will fill the third vacancy left in the team after being selected on the bench. "Paddy kicked in the Aviva Stadium yesterday and kicked well and trained fully this morning," Kearney said.
"Paddy's hamstring first tightened up after Monday's session so there was a bit of concern about him. He sat out the session on Tuesday, received treatment and did some light running in the afternoon. He then came through kicking at the Aviva Stadium yesterday afternoon very well, so that clarified things for us, but up until then there was some small doubt. There was no discomfort this morning so he'll be fine."
Jackson struggled from the kicking tee against Scotland with the Irish eventually slipping to a narrow 12-8 defeat and winger Fergus McFadden is primed to step in as kicker should he be required. "Fergus is an option and that's why he went to the Aviva yesterday to practice. He's been very successful as a place kicker with Leinster," Kearney said. "But Paddy is first choice and we have every confidence that he will perform in all facets of his game, including place kicking. If Ian comes on then we have full confidence in him as well. If Ian comes on he'll be place kicking as well."
McFadden, who has replaced groin-injury victim Craig Gilroy on the right wing, is eager to prove to grab his oopportunity. "It's a long championship and I knew that I just needed to bide my time," said McFadden, who won his last cap against Argentina in the autumn. "Now my chance has come in a big game and I need to show that maybe I should have been there from the start.
"I like to think that I bring a bit more to the equation that place kicking. Paddy is the first choice kicker and we have full confidence in him. If I'm called upon to kick I'm more than confident to do it, but as it stands Paddy is kicking and the team is very confident about that."
Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); F McFadden (Leinster), B O'Driscoll (Leinster), L Marshall (Ulster), K Earls (Munster); P Jackson (Ulster), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), M McCarthy (Connacht), D Ryan (Munster), P O'Mahony (Munster), S O'Brien (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster, capt)
Replacements: S Cronin (Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), S Archer (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), I Henderson (Ulster), E Reddan (Leinster), I Madigan (Leinster), L Fitzgerald (Leinster).
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