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11th Aug 2015

Irish coach defends Paddy Jackson’s ‘rusty’ kicking performance against Wales

Room to improve

Patrick McCarry

The Ulster out-half will be eager to get another crack.

Paddy Jackson was a bit of rarity in Cardiff, on Saturday.

While most of the Irish players that helped to dismantle Wales, 35-21, would have been happy with their performances, Jackson left some questions unanswered.

One could be harsh and say that he answered those questions – can he goal-kick under pressure and can he control a Test match – but it was his first game of pre-season.

Ireland skills and kicking coach Richie Murphy took the latter approach.

‘I think Paddy did well,’ Murphy told reporters in Ireland’s World Cup training base, at Carton House, today.

‘I think Paddy will be a bit disappointed that he missed three kicks in the end, especially the first one.

‘I think he was blowing pretty hard when it actually came around, so it’s one of those things. First match back, a little bit rusty off the tee but I thought in general his tactical kicking was very good, one or two loose ones, but he can tidy them up and his general play was pretty solid.’

Joe Schmidt and Paddy Jackson 6/8/2015

‘As for the rest of the guys,’ Murphy added, ‘I thought we were pretty good without being excellent. You have to take into account that we had a pretty inexperienced team out there and Wales had a lot of young players playing.

‘We were probably a little further ahead down the track at that particular point, but come two weeks that will be a different story.’

Murphy has confirmed that, as of now, Luke Fitzgerald and Marty Moore are in consideration for the Aviva Stadium friendly against Scotland, on Saturday. Ireland’s captain is also in the mix.

‘Paul O’Connell is fit and available this week,’ he said, ‘so it’s just about making the decisions on what’s best fit for him as an individual and for us as a team.

‘Whether he plays or not, that’ll be a decision made later on.’

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