‘We sent out a message’ – Jackson

Date published: December 22 2015

After an impressive win in Toulouse, Ulster fly-half Paddy Jackson is now switching his attention to a solid end to the year in the PRO12.

The 25-23 victory at Stade Ernest Wallon saw Jackson and half-back partner Ruan Pienaar put in superb showings as Ulster took four points.

That win came on the back of a 38-0 triumph at Kingspan Stadium over the same opponent, with Jackson clearly happy with their recent form.

"That was tough, and there were a lot of sore bodies in that dressing room, but we feel we've done a good job," he told the Ulster website.

"Fair play to Toulouse they kept coming at us, but I think we've got a really good chance to qualify out of this Pool now.

"But we now have to turn our attention to the Guinness PRO12, and do as well in the league.

"I felt the performances of the last few weeks were building to these successes, and while a lot of people were doubting us I think we've sent out a message now, right across Europe."

On his own strong performance at number ten, Jackson admits he is enjoying his rugby at the moment.

"Getting back-to-back games after missing a lot of the early-season matches because of the World Cup has been great, it's my job to attack the line, not just to be a distributor but making runs of my own," he said.

"It is going really well just now, I'm finding time and space, so maybe I've added half-a-yard of pace, I'm not sure. I just know I'm more confident in my all-round game.

"I'm enjoying being part of this Ulster team, I feel I'm getting more time on the ball and I'm seeing things clearly, making decent decisions. And I really do get just as much enjoyment out of setting up other boys for scores and I believe we can move on from the last few games and grow further.

"When things you work hard at on the training paddock are transferring to the pitch on match days it's really satisfying," he added.

"We have to travel to Oyonnax in the Champions Cup, and it is never easy in France, but we meet them again at home and if we do our jobs, play with the intensity and enterprise we can, then we really would think about reaching the quarter-finals.

"We didn't qualify for the knockout stages last year, and that's unusual for this group of players, so our target is obviously clear, we want to qualify."

Next up for Ulster is a game against Connacht in a tricky PRO12 derby, and with their rivals having a strong start in the league, Jackson knows victory is a must to close the gap on Scarlets and Connacht at the summit.

"We have to regain our focus very quickly, we play Connacht on Boxing Day away, and that will be tough the way they've been pushing on this season," he said.

"The weather and ground conditions will be an important factor down there, we know it will be hard but the way we're playing at the moment, the confidence and ability we have in this squad, I'd hope we can keep this winning run going."