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Koivu opened the scoring in

  • January 21, 2020 1:56 AM EST

    Ulster wing Craig Gilroy is backing provincial team-mate Paddy Jackson to rise to the occasion when Ireland tackle South Africa in the first Test at Newlands on Saturday. Jim Harbaugh Jersey . Jackson is favourite to fill the void at fly-half left by Johnny Sextons shoulder injury against the Springboks, having been selected ahead of Ian Madigan for the three-Test tour.While Madigan was called up when Sextons surgery was confirmed last week, it appears likely that Jackson will be handed the No 10 shirt for the first time since the World Cup warm-up against Wales last August. The 24-year-old has been a regular squad member under Joe Schmidt, but Madigan has been the preferred back-up to Sexton in the last two seasons, starting last years World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina.However, he has struggled to get game-time at Leinster since Sextons return to the province, while his impending move to Bordeaux has weakened his claim.Meanwhile, Jackson, who made his international debut as a 20-year-old against Scotland during the 2013 Six Nations and has collected 13 caps since, has grown in stature under Les Kiss at Ulster and was a central figure in their season. Jackson was a central figure for Ulster last season And Gilroy believes his old schoolmate is ready to step up to the challenge of the first Test in Cape Town, live on Sky Sports.Hes been fantastic. Hes been a joy to play with, he said. Its not just off the back of this season that I say this, I played with Jacko at school, under-age level, U19s, U20s, provincially and internationally.Hes a joy to play with, Ive always rated him so highly. I always enjoy playing with him and no doubt if he gets an opportunity I think hell take it.I think this has probably been his best season on a personal level.Not only was he able to deliver on the pitch physically, but he stepped up as a leader. He spoke well to us guys post-game, at half-time and he talks well on the pitch and commands the plays that he wants. Craig Gilroy has played alongside Jackson since his schooldays He delivers with ball-in-hand, his kicking game has been fantastic as well. Les knows Jack is more than capable.He has that smart rugby brain to make the decisions to take the ball to the line or if he decides to go himself, do you know what hes a tight wee man and hes a lot quicker than he looks.Hes hard, Jacko. Sometimes he has a laugh at himself, but hell get down to the nitty-gritty stuff and put his body on the line. Also See: Easterby backs trio Sexton heads absentees WATCH: Greenwoods favourite 5 U20 Championship round-up J.P. Holtz Jersey .1 million contract. The club said that Boll will earn $950,000 in 2012-13 and $1.15 million in 2013-14. The 26-year-old Boll had two goals and one assist with 126 penalty minutes in 54 games with the Blue Jackets in 2011-12. Robbie Gould Jersey . -- Falcons running back Steven Jackson, who has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury, is expected to practice on Wednesday.ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild continued their strong play at home. Mikko Koivu scored two goals, including the winner with 3:12 remaining, and the Wild beat the Jets 2-1 to extend their winning streak to four games. With the game tied at 1-1, Koivu scored the winner with a one-timer that beat Ondrej Pavelec to the short side for his fourth goal of the season. "It was a fun game to be a part of, Im sure for both teams," said Koivu, who reacted quickly to a pass from winger Charlie Coyle, who made the pass while fighting off a check from Keaton Ellerby. "If that doesnt get you into the game, you shouldnt be here," Koivu said. "It was amazing, and it was fun to play." In the end, more fun for the Wild, who extended their points streak to eight games (7-0-1) and pulled into second place, two points behind Chicago, in the Central Division. They also extended their home winning streak to six games and are 10-1-2 at home. Winnipeg had its four-game winning streak snapped and fell behind in the top-heavy Western Conference, where five teams -- including the Wild -- have at least 30 points. The East has none. "It was a really tough game to lose because I thought our guys were very engaged in the game, really wanted to have a good outcome," Jets coach Claude Noel said. Wild goaltender Josh Harding made 21 saves for his 12th victory. He improved to 10-0-0 at home and lowered his goals-against average to 1.25, second in the NHL to Los Angeles Ben Scrivens (1.24). Harding heard the Jets fans who made the trip from Manitoba. Tom Waddle Jersey. "They have some loyal fans," Harding said. "Its so exciting playing in that game. The atmosphere is incredible. It almost feels like youre in a playoff game. I dont know if Ive ever been taunted that much in a home game. ... If I let that get to me, I have some problems." Koivu opened the scoring in a first period dominated by Minnesota, which held the Jets to just two shots on goal. The Wild captain corralled a pass from Zach Parise in the slot and sent a quick wrist shot past Pavelec at 16:37. Parises assist gave him 13 points in his past 12 games. The Jets rebounded with a strong second period, outshooting the Wild 14-8, but didnt score until Dustin Byfuglien, parked in the crease, deflected a slap shot from Bryan Little to tie the score at 1-1 just 54 seconds into the third period. But for the second time in as many games, the Wild responded to a tying goal with the winner. They beat Florida 3-2 on Friday after blowing a 2-0 first-period lead. "Theyre a hard-working fast team that gets the puck in deep and grinds out," Ellerby said. "Its frustrating playing against that team." NOTES: Winnipegs two shots in the first period were the fewest the Wild have allowed in a period this season. ... The Wilds eight-game points streak is their best since they were also 7-0-1 between Oct. 4-21, 2007. . Coyle has five points (two goals, three assists) in six games since returning from a 12-game absence because of a knee injury. . Harding has a 1.15 GAA in his 10 starts at home. ' ' '

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