Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

IRFU announces the departure of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

IRFU announces the departure of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

Irish fly-half Paddy Jackson and Ulster teammate Stuart Olding have been sacked by their province and their contracts with the Irish Rugby Football Union terminated despite being cleared in a rape trial, the IRFU announced on Saturday.

Last night, the Press Association broke the news that Jackson and Olding were likely to be dropped today, while another report indicated that Ulster Rugby's lead sponsors Kingspan had taken a firm stance against the two rejoining.

Last month in Belfast, both men were found not guilty of rape and were acquitted of all charges against them.

The pair have faced criticism for other aspects of their behaviour and several major sponsors of Ulster Rugby have raised concerns.

The IRFU and Ulster Rugby review had focused on a series of sexually explicit WhatsApp conversations involving the players and their friends about the sexual encounter at the centre of the rape trial.

The IRFU also announced that they intend to ensure that these core values are applied across the board.

Ulster and the IRFU confirmed on Saturday morning that a decision had been taken to revoke the players' contracts upon the findings of an internal review.

But he added that he was "truly sorry" his behaviour had fallen "far short of the values" expected of him as an worldwide player. I am truly sorry.

"Since I was a young boy it was my ambition to play for Ulster and Ireland and I am extremely proud, privileged and honoured to have done so".

'It is therefore with great sadness and regret but with many cherished memories that I leave that behind.

He thanked all of those who supported him, and says he bears no ill will toward anyone.

A female Ulster supporter, who asked not to be named, said: "I Think it's a load of nonsense, the guys have been tried for what they were accused of and that's it". I very much wished to continue to have the opportunity to represent them.

"My focus in the months and years ahead will be on rebuilding the trust placed in me by people throughout Ulster and Ireland".

Protests have continued in the wake of the verdicts over degrading and offensive WhatsApp messages between the players and their friends, which became public knowledge during the trial.

Ulster wing Craig Gilroy has been spared the axe for by the IRFU, who have instead chosen to sanction the player over the sending of a text message.

"Craig will be unavailable for team selection until 26th April 2018".

Jackson and Olding are finished at Ulster.

A fellow Ulster team-mate, Craig Gilroy, has been suspended by the province till April 26 for a message he sent to the pair.

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