Paddy Jackson and Ulster look for big performance against Leinster

Ulster's Paddy Jackson
Ulster's Paddy Jackson

Ireland outhalf Paddy Jackson scored all of Ulster’s 20 points against Leinster when the sides met in the PRO12 two weeks ago at Ravenhill.

In spite of being reduced to 14 men for 64 minutes Ulster put up a brave display, falling by just two points.

And Jackson is hoping they can carry that fighting spirit into the PRO12 semi final at the RDS in Dublin tomorrow evening (7pm).

“We’ll take a bit of confidence from that,” said Jackson.

“We were looking to secure our play-off spot or at least get a bonus point.

“We just needed to make sure we were in the play-offs and coming close with 14 men you can take confidence, but at the end of the day we still lost the game.

“It’s another loss to Leinster which always hurts but we have another chance this weekend and everyone is really excited about it.”

Jackson was part of the Ulster side that was victorious in the league at the RDS last season and it is a ground he relishes playing at.

“We know we can beat them. It’s just transferring that to the big games and the knockout games which we haven’t done yet.

“I think we can take confidence from that as well and we think we are just as good, if not better, than them and we’re going to win.

“I actually like going to the RDS, it’s a good pitch, good atmosphere and it is not too far down the road. Hopefully the weather will hold up and I’m looking forward to getting out there.

“The atmosphere in the final last year was awesome and I don’t imagine it will be much different this weekend, and I just love playing in the big games.”

Jackson has enjoyed a solid season, making positive progress on all fronts.

“It’s been a relatively good season for me and I want to finish it on a high and hopefully there are two games left and I’ll put everything into them,” he added.

Leinster have ended Ulster’s hunt for silverware in the last three seasons, but Jackson feels Ulster know what is needed to topple the reigning champions.

“Our breakdown, holding onto the ball and not giving away penalties and just finishing our chances.

“We left a couple of tries out there against them in the final last year and that killed us so we need to put away our chances.”

Jackson was on the receiving end of a high tackle in last year’s final from Isa Nacewa and also suffered another by Rob Kearney in the recent meeting.

“I don’t know if it is my height or they are going for me, they both happened breaks so if I make a few more and get high tackled I’m not worried.”

Not only is there a place in the PRO12 final up for grabs there are also seats on the plane for Ireland’s summer tour of Argentina.

“I won’t be going in thinking I have to get one over on anyone,” insisted Jackson.

“You want to play your own game and your team game and that is all we can really do.

“You don’t want to look too far ahead to the tour but I’d love to be going on it and if I have a good game this weekend it can’t hurt my chances.”