5 Potential Replacements For Paddy Jackson At Ulster
Regardless of what you think of Paddy Jackson after his hugely publicised rape trial, there’s absolutely no denying he’s a fantastic rugby player, that Ulster have and will continue to miss.
Now that he’s officially gone, and will not be returning, the northern province need to start looking for a replacement – if they haven’t already been doing so.
The fact that he’s a ten, makes it all the more difficult. It’s arguably the most important position on the pitch. And as a result, good tens are hard to find, and those that are potentially available – come at a hefty price.
Here are five potential suitors for Ulster.
The hottest ‘free agent’ in world rugby right now, Cooper is currently playing club rugby after being told he’s not part of the Reds’ plans this season by head coach Brad Thorn. He would be granted a release from his contract if a club came knocking, and could do a serious job for Ulster in place of Jackson.
The first of a couple of unpopular choices if you’re a Leinster fan. Byrne has been fantastic this season for the men in blue, and they likely won’t allow him to leave. But a starring role with Ulster could potentially be an excellent career move for him. Himself and Cooney would no doubt form an excellent partnership.
Another unlikely, but logical choice. Yes it’s probably unfair on Leinster to be punished for producing so much talent. But Carbery is Joe Schmidt’s back-up ten, yet he rarely plays there for his province. A move to Ulster would be hugely beneficial for him, Ulster and Irish Rugby. And as good as he is – Leinster would realistically manage just fine without him, such is there depth.
The forgotten man of Irish Rugby has been in fantastic form for Bristol this season, albeit in the Championship. Ulster have already convinced his former Leinster teammates Jordi Murphy and Marty Moore to move up north next season, could this help persuade Madigan? He does however, still have two years to run on his Bristol contract, but perhaps he has a break in terms of moving home?
The Wallaby playmaker would be a hugely popular choice after his excellent spell at Ulster earlier this season. Lealiifano became an instant favourite with the crowd, and has previously stated he would consider returning. This is a deal that could very well happen.