Paddy Jackson’s 1st Interview Since Trial – ‘It’s About Rugby & Getting Back Enjoying Life’

‘People don’t get what I’ve been through’.

Former Ulster outhalf Paddy Jackson has given his first rugby interview since returning to the game with newly-promoted French side Perpignan following his hugely publicised rape trial.

Jackson missed the entire 2017/18 season with Ulster and Ireland after being stood down by the IRFU for the duration of the trial. In the end both Jackson and Olding were found not guilty, but still had their contracts revoked by the IRFU.

The 26-year-old made his long-awaited return to action last week in a pre-season win over Toulouse – and he is delighted to be finally back playing the game he loves. Speaking to John Fallon in France, Jackson says he’s trying to fit in as much as he can.

“I am just loving being here and trying to just fit in as much as I can. I am just glad to be back playing,” said Jackson.

“I have somewhere where I have friends and family coming over to visit. It’s a lovely climate. Everything for me, it’s about enjoying where I am. It’s just all been about rugby and getting back enjoying life. That is all I have been thinking about really.”

On his return to action, Jackson said is ‘almost felt like it was his first game’.

“It’s amazing, it’s hard to describe how good it feels. It almost felt like my first game. Which in a way was great, but also at the beginning it took me a while to get settled into the game.”

“It had been a long time to just get my touch back but after 10 or 15 minutes I felt really comfortable. The guys around me made it a lot easier. The backs outside me had a great game. It was just a brilliant night.”

In terms of the trial itself and everything that has happened, Jackson says people can’t really understand what he and his family have been through.

“It’s been difficult but it’s something that me and my family have just had to get used to. You only can really understand if you have been in my shoes or my family’s shoes. It’s something you get used to. You stick together and you help each other.

“I have come out somewhere where people know about it but they are all respectful and understanding about it. They have helped me in training to get into the lifestyle here. I have just been focusing on playing here,”