Paddy Jackson played his first game of competitive rugby in 14 months as he helped his new Perpignan side to a 21-20 win over Toulouse in a preseason friendly.
Jackson, whose last game came during Ireland’s tour of the USA and Japan in 2017, will be playing his rugby for the newly-promoted Top14 outfit this season after he had his contract revoked by Ulster Rugby and the IRFU after the outcome of the highly publicised rape trial in Belfast.
Jackson and former Ulster teammate, Stuart Olding, were acquitted on all charges and Olding will be playing in France’s second-tier, the ProD2, with Brieve.
Jackson put in a strong performance as kicked three conversions in the first half before his side changed the entire XV for the second 40.
Perpignan have been instilled as one of the favourites to suffer relegation from the Top14 this season so Jackson’s kicking performances will be key throughout the year.
Jackson will likely get another chance to dust off the cobwebs when his side face Racing 92 in a preseason friendly next week which could feature former Ireland internationals, Donnacha Ryan and Simon Zebo.
Perpignan’s first Top 14 match will be at home to Stade Francais who now have Paul O’Connell and Mike Prendergast as assistant coaches.