Ulster outhalf Paddy Jackson confident of a performance in Glasgow

Ulster's Paddy Jackson
Ulster's Paddy Jackson

Irish outhalf Paddy Jackson remained confident Ulster could go to Scotstoun and get a win which would keep them in the hunt for a home semi-final in the Guinness PRO12 play-offs.

A 23-23 draw with Munster at the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday left Ulster in fourth place in the standings, a point behind Ospreys, Glasgow Warriors and Munster all on 70 points.

The top two finishers will gain the crucial home advantage in the play-offs on the weekend of May 22 and 23 with first playing fourth and second facing third.

Ulster needed to win both their final games to be sure of a home semi-final, now they have to beat Glasgow in Scotstoun but also hope Connacht and Dragons do them a favour against Ospreys and Munster respectively when the final games of the regular league season are played on Saturday.

Jackson, who landed a touchline conversion to secure the 23-all draw when Paul Marshall crossed the line with the clock in the red believes Ulster can win in Glasgow.

“Yes, definitely we can,” said Jackson when asked about winning in Scotstoun.

“That is what we have been talking about all the way through. Win, lose or draw against Munster, we were always going to have to go and win in Glasgow anyway.

“So yes, we are going there to win.”

However, even an Ulster win may not be good enough to give the Province a home tie in the semi-finals particularly if Ospreys and Munster were to win.

Ulster would probably need to pick up a try-scoring bonus point - and again, that could still not be enough.

And there is the potential added loss of influential backrow forward, Iain Henderson.

The Irish international was sent off seven minutes from the end for a dangerous challenge on Munster’s Ronan O’Mahony and there is every reason to expect he will pick up a ban.

Ulster have said they will vigorously contest any ban as well as appealing the red card.

Missing Henderson would be a huge blow for Ulster indicated by Jackson’s response to questions about the incident.

“Ian’s massive to us. He’s a massive person. He’s massive on the pitch and you just see how physical he is,” said Jackson.

“Having somebody like that ball carrying and hitting rucks, flip I desperately hope he doesn’t miss the rest of the season,” added Jackson, a view every Ulster fan will have as well when Henderson appears before a disciplinary hearing tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Jackson revealed that he had missed four place kicks during practice on Friday from the same place where he converted the crucial points on Saturday to secure the draw.

In the corresponding fixture in Limerick, Ian Humphreys had missed a last minute conversion to win the game and the Kingspan Stadium held its breath as Jackson teed up the ball following Marshall’s last gasp try.

“It was a bit nerve wrecking,” said Jackson.

“I actually remember just before taking the kick I was thinking about how I was kicking with Humphs (Ian Humphreys) on Friday and I missed four in a row from exactly the same position.

“Once I got that out of my head, all I was thinking about was the strike.

“I had been striking it sweet all day, the warm up had gone really well for me and I was just thinking to keep my head down, get through the ball and it paid off.”