While both men were acquitted of rape in a much-publicised trial in Northern Ireland, both had their IRFU contracts revoked and controversy continues to plague the pair.
Both are currently seeking gainful employment outside of Ireland.
RugbyPass’ journalist Alex Shaw was the first to report that Stuart Olding was close to penning a deal with the club on April 24th, while a number of other papers then linked both Olding and Jackson to the club.
There then was some surprise then when Sale Sharks Steve Diamond claimed this week that no deal had been struck and that the club hadn’t been close to signing the pair.
In a statement Diamond said: “Sale Sharks can confirm there is no substance to the rumours currently circulating in relation to the signing of the two international rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.
“Our search continues for top class players to bolster the squad for next season.”
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It has been widely speculated that sponsor AJ Bell had voiced concern when the Telegraph reported the impending deal. However, when contacted, a spokesperson for AJ Bell told RugbyPass that the company had not explicitly voiced their disapproval of the deal, but had merely inquired at Sale Sharks headquarters if there was any validity to the reports.
Steve Diamond last night distanced himself even further from the pair, saying: “We will bring players with international experience to the club but no the Irish lads aren’t coming before anybody asks. They are looking for jobs, we’re looking for players so we’re always going to be linked. It’s what happens.”
However, The Rugby Paper’s Neil Fissler is reporting today that deals were in the offing for the pair. According to Fissler Jackson had signed a contract, while Olding had verbally agreed to a deal after the duo were seen at the Sharks training grounds.
Jackson’s deal is reported to have been worth £340,000, while Olding’s verbal agreement was purported to be £160,000.
Sale denied they were signing Faf de Klerk, James O’Connor and Marland Yarde, who are they they playing for? Jackson and Odling apparently visited the training ground this week too.
— Neil Fissler (@neilfissler) May 2, 2018
Sale Sharks’ already have an Irish born fly-half in AJ MacGinty, who signed a new four-year contract with the club in February.
The Irish-born American international playmaker has produced some of the best rugby of his career for the Sharks this season, establishing himself as one of the Premiership’s most formidable fly-halves.
Sale Sharks were also linked with another controversial star – Israel Folau.
It was reported last month that Premiership side had offered the fullback £750,000 per annum ($1.37m Australian dollars) to make the switch to the England. RugbyPass understands that offer had risen considerably after it was viewed as too low for a star of his calibre.
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