Saturday 25 November 2017

Paddy Jackson: Tommy Bowe will come good at the World Cup

Payne is the players' player says Ulster outhalf Paddy

Paddy Jackson in action during Ireland squad training
Paddy Jackson in action during Ireland squad training

Paddy Jackson has been better placed than most to witness the rise of one Ulsterman and the disturbing demise of another.

It has taken the Irish public some time to warm to Ireland's naturalised centre Jared Payne.

You see, he is what they like to call a 'players' player,' a man who makes life easier for those around him.

Jackson has known this since Payne overcame that serious Achilles tendon injury that wiped out his first season at the Northern Province.

"He is a really good voice for you," offered up Jackson.

"He can see the space where it may be difficult for a ten with quick ball. You are very focused in on the ruck and what's around the ruck or in behind.

"Then, when there's not space, he runs seriously hard lines for you and offers himself up.

"As a ten, when there is quick ball, that is exactly what you want, someone who is decisive in what they are doing and, if they have to, can carry for you."

The demonstration of Payne's skills against England would have been noted by his coach and those around him. He could be Ireland's key to the door.

It was, however, the inability of Tommy Bowe to get up to international speed against Scotland, in his first hit-out, and England, most markedly in his ineffectual tackle on Jonny May's try, that have led to questions over the retention of what has been his automatic selection.


It would appear that Dave Kearney has now overtaken Bowe, Keith Earls, Simon Zebo and Luke Fitzgerald as first choice for one of the wing slots.

"He was disappointed with the game last week, as were a few of the guys," said Jackson.

"He hasn't had too many games like that for Ireland and I haven't seen him play too many like that for Ulster.

"It's Tommy Bowe. He is a British and Irish Lion. He's got a number of caps for Ireland and he will bounce back strong.

"He is experienced enough to deal with it."

The stretch in Ian Madigan's detailed analysis to take in the various nuances of scrum-half play as an emergency third choice to Eoin Reddan and Conor Murray may lead to greater game time for Jackson.

The 23 year-old doesn't see it that way

"With the three of us we are all focusing on ten. With Murray and Redser in there, it is a lot of experience and, to be honest, I am just focusing on a lot of my own stuff.

"We are all pushing each other and there is a lot of competition in terms of positions.

"I want to go there and do as well as I can. All I can do is concentrate on doing my best on the training pitch and then bringing that into the game if I get the chance."

Now that the squad has been whittled down to 31, Carton House has become a quieter place to be.

The entertainment has fallen onto the always singing, always dancing Simon Zebo and Leinster duo Sean O'Brien and Cian Healy, according to Jackson.

"We've picked up our kit now this week and it has all become a bit more real, especially for guys like me who haven't gone before.

"The boys were all tight and that is only getting tighter as the time goes on."

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