Jackson doesn’t want to be Donald

Date published: August 1 2015

Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson admits he would rather be involved from the outset than be his nation's Stephen Donald in the World Cup knockouts.

The Ulster playmaker, who is currently battling with Jonathan Sexton and Ian Madigan for seats on the plane, laughed off the prospect of being a hero.

Four years ago Donald was called in at the eleventh hour following several injuries, with the New Zealand fly-half having been whitebaiting on the banks of the Waikato River, drinking a few beers. He went on to feature in the final and kicked what turned out to be the winning points in the 8-7 win over France.

"I do like my fishing but Craig Gilroy took my fishing rod and I've no idea where it is," joked Jackson, when speaking to the Irish Independent about 2011's drama.

Ulster back Jackson though stressed that being a late call-up or replacement is not what he is striving for as the 2015 Rugby World Cup fast approaches.

"I want to challenge the number one position as well, definitely," he added.

"All I'm thinking about is my own game. No matter what the other players do, it can't affect me if I'm not focusing on my own game.

"If I can play as well as I can, there's no reason why I shouldn't be in the squad starting at ten. That's where my focus has to be.

"There's good competition between myself and the two Ians (albeit Keatley didn't make the summer's substantial cut). I wouldn't have an idea where I stand in the pecking order.

"Obviously Ian Madigan can cover a lot of the other positions, 12 and 15, even nine. I can't really base where I stand on too much because I haven't really been involved since the Six Nations a couple of seasons ago.

"Joe played me on the bench then and he had Ian as a utility replacement which is always useful. But listen, we're all thinking the same, if we get a chance we need to perform to get on that plane.

"It can be an uncertain position, when you're a back-up for only one position. You don't know what Joe is going to go for.

"He could end up choosing any of us really. It's a tough call for him as much as it is tough for us."