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Thursday 8 December 2016

Jackson shines as Ulster take full advantage to go top

Paddy Jackson. Pic: Sportsfile
Paddy Jackson. Pic: Sportsfile

While Leinster did everyone else a favour against The Ospreys, Ulster were the main beneficiaries in moving to the head of the table, albeit on points difference from Cardiff Blues.

The way the northern province dealt with Glasgow Warriors (22-17) on the artificial surface at Scotstoun, the impact of Paddy Jackson and the climb to the summit came as a treble delight to their Director of Rugby Les Kiss.

In addition, Ulster showed character through a number of dodgy decisions, The Match Official ruling out two tries, which would have undermined their focus in previous years.

"It would have been a travesty if we had lost that," said Kiss.

"The odd call went against us. But you have to be bigger than the calls.

"That is a really good space that we are growing into - that we can handle those setbacks and come back stronger to get the job done."

"We have talked about mental toughness, the robustness and resilience to handle those moments and it came through."

Jackson shone through in almost carving out a tremendous individual try and eventually completing a wonderful team try as the Ireland out-half's influence continues to grow.

"Four from four and now playing home to the Ospreys - a team that got beaten well like Glasgow had been the week before - means we are going to have to be on our game," issued Kiss.

Munster's John Ryan may just be a bolter for Ireland's November series.

The 28-year-old tight-head was the unsung hero, due to his scrummaging, behind Munster's double-scores 28-14 domination over Edinburgh to reside joint-fourth with Leinster.

It was latest of Ryan's impressive early-season performances.

Sadly, Connacht are still pointless from their 17-8 loss to The Scarlets, leaving the champions languishing two behind Zebre and four off Benetton Treviso, Edinburgh and their conquerors on Saturday evening.

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