The signing of Paddy Jackson by London Irish was never going to be one that was universally lauded and it seems as if the repercussions are beginning to materialise.
The initial backlash following confirmation of the signing saw a number of London Irish fans threaten to boycott the club on social media, with the #IBelieveHer hashtag frequently used, a reference to the rape trial that Jackson was part of in 2018, where he was ultimately acquitted.
Jackson’s contract was still terminated by Ulster and the IRFU, however, citing the three core values of the game, “respect, inclusivity and integrity,” with Jackson then opting for a move to Perpignan for the 2018/19 season.
It seems as though the backlash has moved from fans to sponsors now, though, with Cash Converters, one of the club’s partners, taking to social media to announce they have decided to end their association with club.
As a company, we are committed to the highest possible standards when it comes to our investments in any sponsorships and collaborations. As a result of a detailed and thorough review of our support for London Irish, we have decided to discontinue our association with the club.
— Cash Converters UK (@cash_converters) June 5, 2019
The company, which specialises in buying and selling secondhand goods, signed a three-year deal with London Irish in September of 2018 to appear on the club’s jersey, with two years still to run at the time of writing. Cash Converters, who also sponsor St Helens in Super League and Motherwell FC in the Scottish Premiership, have removed London Irish from their list of partners on their Twitter account.
When contacted by RugbyPass for comment, a Cash Converters spokesperson said:
“Our sponsorships and collaborations are incredibly important to us and we always strive to partner with companies who reflect our ethos and values. After careful consideration and a detailed analysis of our support for London Irish, we have decided to discontinue our association with the club.
“We would like to wish London Irish good luck with their future endeavours and thank their fans for welcoming our company since 2018.”
The club have made several splashes ahead of their return to the Gallagher Premiership later this year, with the likes of Adam Coleman, Waisake Naholo, Sekope Kepu, Nick Phipps and Curtis Rona all joining from Super Rugby, and Sean O’Brien and Allan Dell making the move from the Guinness PRO14, as they attempt to consolidate their place back in the Premiership.
Jackson’s season at Perpignan didn’t go to plan for the Irishman, with the club from the south-west of France finishing bottom of the Top 14 and Jackson drifting in and out of the team as the season went on. Head coach Les Kiss and director of rugby Declan Kidney will be hoping that they can coax the form out of Jackson that they previously saw him show with Ulster and Ireland respectively.
Irish’s other options at fly-half include the veteran Stephen Myler, academy product Theo Brophy Clews and full-back Alivereti Veitokani, who has previously played at 10 for the Fijian Drua in Australia’s NRC.
Watch: Waisake Naholo talks to the media after returning from injury
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