London Irish Director of Rugby Declan Kidney has praised Paddy Jackson for his impressive performances for the Gallagher Premiership club.
Paddy Jackson joined London Irish in 2019, after spending a season in the Top 14 with Perpignan, and has played a large role in the Exiles’ revival.
London Irisg were promoted from the RFU Championship in 2019 a few months before Jackson arrived. They now find themselves in seventh place in the Premiership, just one spot short of earning a place in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup.
Kidney spoke to RugbyPass about Jackson’s recent performances. He admitted that he was not surprised by the former Ulster fly-half’s performances as of late.
☘️ Declan Kidney was pleased to see London Irish rewarded for their ‘gritty and determined’ display against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday.
— London Irish (@londonirish) March 1, 2021
“Paddy is a very good rugby player. We knew that and we wanted to bring in an out-half with experience,” Kidney said.
“Both myself and Les [Kiss, London Irish head coach and former Ulster head coach] knew him and we asked him to join us. He has joined in and I suppose he is not doing anything we didn’t think he was well capable of.
“It seems a very bland answer but you probably wouldn’t expect anything else from me on that particular topic. He is an international 10, he is an international quality 10. That is not in dispute.
“He is just in his prime and he is playing accordingly, I think. He is a good player, yeah, but there is nothing he is doing that I didn’t think he was capable of doing.”
‘He’s getting into the groove.’
Jackson often played as a fullback when he first joined London Irish, as Stephen Myler normally occupied the 10 jersey last season.
Since Myler left the club to join the Ospreys, the former Ireland international has been the first-choice fly-half, something which Kidney reckons has benefited Jackson.
“There was probably a couple of other areas he can add to his bow then too. I think his playing was truncated,” Kidney explained.
“He was at full-back a lot when he was at Perpignan and then when he was with us as well then too, we had Stephen Myler with us and we had a bit of 15/10.
“But there is a longer run there now at 10 and he is getting into the grove of that there more and more each game.”