Paddy Jackson: Ulster and Ireland fly-half signs new contract

Paddy Jackson of Ulster
Paddy Jackson has played 22 internationals for Ireland

Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson has signed a two-year extension to his contract with Ulster.

The new deal will keep the 25-year-old at the Kingspan Stadium until at least the summer of 2019.

It is believed Jackson turned down offers from other clubs, with Northampton and Bristol understood to have made advances.

Jackson has become Ireland's main understudy to first-choice fly-half Johnny Sexton.

The Belfast man started Ireland's first two matches in this year's Six Nations when Sexton was out injured.

Sexton returned for Saturday's win over France, with Jackson coming on as a late replacement.

Jackson made his Ulster debut in February 2011 and has scored 831 points in 118 matches.

He has played 22 times for Ireland since his international debut against Scotland in 2013.

"I believe that the pillars for success are in place here at Ulster with a quality squad and management team," said Jackson.

"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."

Director of rugby Les Kiss said there had been a lot of interest in Jackson from big European clubs and that the negotiations had been "far from straightforward".

"Paddy 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 are trying to achieve," said Kiss.

"His ability and leadership will be critical for us in the future."