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RugbyU: Jackson starts for Ireland against France

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Paddy Jackson has won the race to be Ireland's starting outside-half in their Six Nations international against France this weekend after being included Thursday in a revised side named by coach Declan Kidney.

Ireland boss Kidney on Tuesday named a team without a starting of reserve stand-off as he waited on the fitness of Jackson, who was suffering from a tight hamstring.

The 21-year-old Ulster fly-half made his Test debut in Ireland's previous match, an 11-8 loss to Scotland at Murrayfield last month where the visitors failed to secure victory despite dominating possession and territory.

Ireland's cause wasn't helped that day by Jackson, who isn't a regular goalkicker for his province, missing three out of his four shots at the posts.

Jackson was only playing in Edinburgh because first-choice outside-half Jonathan Sexton suffered a hamstring injury of his own in the preceding loss to England in Dublin.

Veteran No 10 Ronan O'Gara, Ireland's most-capped player, was left out of Ireland's provisional 32-man squad to play France on Saturday, sparking fresh doubts about the 36-year-old's Test career.

O'Gara, capped 128 times by Ireland, came off the bench against Scotland but did not provide the calming influence his side needed.

And there was no late recall for the Munster hero on Thursday, with Kidney including the in-form, but uncapped, Ian Madigan of Leinster on the bench as his reserve fly-half.

The replacement tight head slot was also confirmed Thursday's with Munster's uncapped Stephen Archer on the bench.

Ireland will be looking to stop the rot at Lansdowne Road on Saturday after back-to-back defeats by England and Scotland.

But France's form is even worse, with the pre-tournament favourites bottom of the table after three defeats and facing the prospect of a first Championship whitewash since 1957.

Ireland (15-1)

Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Brian O'Driscoll, Luke Marshall, Keith Earls; Paddy Jackson, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip (capt), Sean O'Brien, Peter O'Mahony; Donnacha Ryan, Mike McCarthy; Mike Ross, Rory Best, Cian Healy

Replacements: Sean Cronin, David Kilcoyne, Stephen Archer, Donncha O'Callaghan, Iain Henderson, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan, Luke Fitzgerald

jdg/phz

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130307/rugbyu-jackson-starts-ireland-against-france