Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson re-signs with Ulster

3:24 PM GMT

Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson has committed his future to Ulster and the Irish Rugby Football Union.

Jackson, 25, was heavily linked with a move to Northampton Saints but has decided to prolong his stay with Ulster, signing a new deal which keeps him at the PRO12 province until 2019.

The news will come as a huge boost with Jackson regarded as one of Europe’s premier fly-halves. He has won 22 caps for Ireland and is looking forward to continuing his career at Ulster.

“I’m delighted to be staying on at Ulster Rugby for at least another two years,” Jackson said. “It is such a proud moment for myself and my family.

“Every time I pull on the Ulster jersey it is something that I don’t want to take for granted and I hope to continue to grow as a player and contribute to this team in a positive way.

“I believe that the pillars for success are in place here at Ulster with a quality squad and management team. I am hugely excited by the challenges that lie ahead and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me to this point in my career.”

Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss said: “To have Paddy commit to Ulster for a further two seasons is a huge boost. He progressed through the academy structures here and has grown into a fantastic player and leader, who commands the respect of the entire squad.

“He is the type of player that we can build the team around and it’s important that we have home-grown talent at the forefront of what we’re trying to achieve here. His ability and leadership will be critical for us in the future.

“Paddy’s form over the past few years has been widely acknowledged and it was no surprise that there was a lot of interest in him from other big European clubs.”

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