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Jackson and Olding haved responded to their sacking by the IRFU

By Online Editors
Paddy Jackson's signing by London Irish had led to brewing giant Diageo terminating its sponsoring of the club

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Ulster Rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have both released statements after news broke this morning that they were being sacked by the Ulster Rugby and the IRFU.

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Earlier today Ulster Rugby and the IRFU revealed they had revoked Jackson and Olding’s contract with immediate effect.

A joint statement from the organisations reads:

“Following a review, conducted in the aftermath of recent court proceedings, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have revoked the contracts of Patrick Jackson and Stuart Olding with immediate effect.

“In arriving at this decision, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby acknowledge our responsibility and commitment to the core values of the game: Respect, Inclusivity and Integrity.

“It has been agreed, as part of this commitment, to conduct an in-depth review of existing structures and educational programmes, within the game in Ireland, to ensure the importance of these core values is clearly understood, supported and practised at every level of the game.”

Despite a jury finding the pair not guilty of rape at Laganside District Court, they will now have to look outside of Ireland for employment.

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Paddy Jackson revealed his disappointment at the IRFU’s decision.

In a statement to the Press Association, he said: “I am deeply disappointed about the outcome of the IRFU and Ulster Rugby’s internal review.

“However, I recognise that my behaviour has fallen far short of the values expected of me as an international player, a role model for the game of rugby and as a son and a brother. 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.

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“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this process. I have taken great strength from that support. I’d also like to thank Ulster and Irish rugby for the opportunities that they provided for me and I wish them, and all my former team mates, every success.

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

Stuart Olding said influences outside of his ‘contractual arrangement’ have made his continued employment impossible.

It said: “It is with regret that I have been informed that the IRFU have decided to revoke my contract.

“As I said outside court following my acquittal, I am and will always be fiercely proud of having played for my province and country.

“I very much wished to continue to have the opportunity to represent them.

“Regrettably, influences outside of my contractual arrangement have made it impossible for that to happen.

“I said outside court that the Stuart Olding that you read about in the trial is not the real Stuart Olding. The treatment that I have received since my acquittal, both fair and unfair, has made me even more determined to prove myself.”

“With the support of my family and friends I shall seek new challenges elsewhere. I bear no one any ill will.

“I am very sorry that this day has come to pass.

“To those who have supported me through these last 20 months and especially the fans who continue to support me, I thank you all.”

The two, who were banned from playing pending the trial, had pleaded not guilty to charges over the alleged incident on June 28, 2016.

The decision to part ways with the players comes after the IRFU and Ulster Rugby conducted an internal review following Jackson and Olding’s acquittal last month.

The review focused on a series of explicit group text conversations involving the players and their friends, which was revealed during the trial.

Two other men, Blane McIlroy, 26, and Rory Harrison, 25, were also acquitted of their respective charges in relation to the case.

The incident has sparked protests outside the club grounds, and several club sponsors have expressed concern following the case.

Yesterday, Ulster sponsor Bank of Ireland issued a statement to the Irish Independent.

“As a sponsor of Ulster Rugby, Bank of Ireland is highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues which have emerged as a result of the recent high profile trial. The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby,” the statement read.

“It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values, and reflects positively on Bank of Ireland through association”.

26-year-old flyhalf Jackson has made 25 appearances for Ireland since 2013, while 25-year-old Olding has made four.

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.

The IRFU have stated: “Following a review of a text message sent by Craig Gilroy, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have sanctioned him, following a disciplinary process in accordance with the terms of his contract.

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

Gilroy was revealed as a participant and sender of a Whats Apps message, details of which were revealed as part of the 9 week rape trial of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.

It is understood Gilroy sent a message asking Olding: “Any sluts get f***ed?”.

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Jackson and Olding haved responded to their sacking by the IRFU

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