Paddy Jackson comes through Ulster return unscathed

Paddy Jackson stepped up his injury comeback by playing for Ulster Ravens on Thursday
Paddy Jackson stepped up his injury comeback by playing for Ulster Ravens on Thursday

Paddy Jackson is targeting a return to the Ulster squad next week after coming through a match for the Ravens unscathed on Thursday.

The fly-half played 40 minutes of the 30-24 defeat to Munster 'A' in Nenagh.

It was Jackson's first game since dislocating his elbow against Toulon in January and now aims to play in next week's Pro12 clash against the Blues.

"The elbow felt good, hopefully I've done enough to get into the squad for next week," he said.

Ulster coach Neil Doak was in attendance at the Tipperary venue and while disappointed to only get 40 minutes of game time, Jackson told the Ulster Rugby website he felt comfortable to be back out on the pitch.

"It was a bit nerve-wrecking at the start and it's bizarre, but it seems like a blink of an eye since I was out on the pitch.

"It was good to get back into full contact again and a match time situation. The elbow felt good.

"I'd have liked to have got a few more (minutes) but the main thing was just getting out there and get confident playing again.

"Getting into the first few contacts I was a bit cautious but once I had my first tackle, I felt good going into the rest of the game, so I was really happy.

"All the coaches were here and hopefully they were happy with what they saw."

Jackson has missed Ireland's entire Six Nations campaign, but is hoping to stay injury-free ahead of the World Cup later in the year.

Ulster also face an important end to the season as they chase a first Pro12 league title and the return of their first choice fly-half is a timely boost.

"There's been a lot of injuries this year so hopefully that's me for the season in terms of injuries, and I can try to get some games together," added Jackson.

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