Paddy Jackson: Former Ireland fly-half officially signs for London Irish

Paddy Jackson: Former Ireland fly-half officially signs for London Irish

LONDON IRISH have confirmed the long-rumoured signing of ex-Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson from French side Perpignan.

Jackson, 27, joins the newly-promoted club ahead of the 2019/20 Premiership season after several weeks of speculation.

It comes just over a year after Jackson's IRFU and Ulster Rugby contracts were terminated in the wake of being found not guilty of rape at a trial in Belfast.

Jackson's former Ulster teammate Stuart Olding was also acquitted, but the pair were sacked over controversial text messages revealed in court.

Irish have not revealed the length of Jackson's contract with the club.

The fly-half is certainly well-known to the Exiles' director of rugby Declan Kidney and head coach Les Kiss – Kidney awarded Jackson the first of his 25 Ireland caps in 2013, while Kiss coached him both with Ulster and Ireland.

Kidney said: "Players of the calibre of Paddy Jackson do not become available very often and both myself and Les are looking forward to working with him in the future.

"He is a player with proven international quality who we feel will add value to our squad, and it is pleasing that Paddy sees London Irish as a part of his future."

Jackson added: "I'm delighted to be joining London Irish next season at such an exciting and pivotal time for everyone involved with the club.

"London Irish have a clear vision for where they want to be and I look forward to being part of it."

Irish return to the Premiership after recording 20 wins in 22 league matches in the Championship, topping the second tier of English rugby by 13 points.

The club certainly hasn't been waiting around ahead of its return to the top flight – having already signed Ireland stalwart Sean O'Brien from Leinster, as well as Edinburgh's Alan Dell and Waratahs' trio Nick Phipps, Sekope Kepu and Curtis Riona.