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Jackson relishing fly-half race

29th October 2013 05:52


Paddy Jackson Ireland v France

Rivalry: Paddy Jackson

Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson is enjoying the competition for the number ten jersey with Jonathan Sexton and Ian Madigan.

Jackson started three matches in last year's Six Nations championship when Sexton was missing due to injury, but was selected behind Madigan for Ireland's tour of North America earlier this year.

Limited to only 20 minutes against Canada, the Ulster fly-half has accumulated more game-time so far this season than his Leinster rival Madigan, making it difficult in Jackson's mind to figure out who is number two fly-half behind Sexton for Ireland.

"It's a tough one [as to who is considered number two]. Like I said, I felt

it was me behind Ian at the end of last season. He had a great season, but now he hasn't really played much rugby over the last few weeks," Jackson told the Irish Times.

"Well there must be a bit of an advantage due to me playing more games, but I can't really presume anything.

"I'm just trying to impress Joe [Schmidt] out on the training pitch because Ian is obviously going to try to do the same. It's a case of seeing what happens over the next two weeks."

New Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has previous experience working with both Sexton and Madigan at Leinster, but Jackson doesn't consider that history to be an advantage for his rivals.

"I haven't really thought about it that way too much. I've been more excited to learn a lot from him [Schmidt]," added Jackson.

"I've seen that Johnny and Ian have done really well under him. He's [Schmidt] just brilliant, the way he sees everything and it's those little things he really focuses on.

"I'm just trying to learn as much as I can from him because he knows his stuff. When I'm here [Carton House] I get to see Johnny running about. It's impressive the way he dictates things. I try and learn a bit off him.

"I've been happy with how I've been playing. As I said, Joe's been focussing on the little things so it's just trying to get them right, making sure we get defence and attack as good as it can be."

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