Home Rugby Opinion: Paddy Jackson To Perpignan Could Be The Perfect Fit

Opinion: Paddy Jackson To Perpignan Could Be The Perfect Fit

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JANUARY 23: Paddy Jackson of Ulster during the European Champions Cup Pool 1 round 6 game between Ulster and Oyonnax at Kingspan Stadium on January 23, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Ulster fly-half Paddy Jackson is on the lookout for a new club, and a move to Perpignan could be the right choice.

After battling it out in the Pro D2 for four long years, Perpignan, a former heavyweight of French rugby are back at the top table. To keep a seat at that table they’re going to need to improve their squad and it seems they may be looking to invite Paddy Jackson to dinner. 

Speaking solely with a proverbial ‘rugby hat’ on for a minute, it’s clear that Paddy Jackson, highly public transgressions aside, would be a strong acquisition for the French side.

Perpignan would upgrade their resource at the most pivotal position, in the form of a highly motivated fly half. Players in exile, particularly those with highly public downfalls, do not usually receive calls from Ireland boss Joe Schmidt, so Perpignan would get themselves an undistracted international fly half. 

For Jackson, landing at a Top 14 club would be significant. Financial benefits aside, the competitiveness and standard of rugby in France would undoubtedly benefit Jackson’s progress, giving him an opportunity to develop a stunted career. 

Former Ulster teammate, Stuart Olding, has signed on with Pro D2 side Brive for next season on a two-year contract. Jeremy Davidson will undoubtedly be hoping to bounce straight back to the top flight but look no further than Perpignan or Biarritz to see just how difficult that proves to be. Playing at the top level in France is important. 

If one has experienced the Stade Aime Giral, they are unlikely to forget the beautifully hostile place. Munster fans will remember fondly JJ Hanrahan’s injury time heroics in 2013 that sealed a famous European win, a rare one for traveling teams back then. 

There’s no silence for kicks in Aime Giral. They’ll put cheerleaders doing the Can-Can behind the posts as the opposing kicker lines up a shot at goal. 

Describing it as hostile is being polite, it’s Ravenhill on steroids. But it just might be a fit for one young Ulsterman looking to rebuild what’s left of his ailing career.

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