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Ulster players give their reaction to Jackson and Olding sackings

By Harry West
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Ulster’s players and staff were disappointed at the decision to cancel the deals of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding after the duo were acquitted of rape charges.

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The Ireland internationals were cleared of rape at Belfast Crown Court last month, with Jackson also found not guilty of sexual assault.

Both men had denied raping the same woman at a party at Jackson’s home in June 2016.

Although Jackson and Olding were cleared of criminal charges, they have faced criticism over the content of explicit WhatsApp conversations that emerged during the trial between the players and their friends.

Following a review of the trial, Ulster and the Irish Rugby Football Union released a joint statement last week confirming that the two players’ contracts had been terminated.

“It is with a great deal of sadness that the players and pro staff have learnt of this outcome,” said Ulster hooker Rob Herring, reading from a pre-prepared statement as he faced the media on Tuesday.

“We know that the two boys will be successful both on and off the pitch wherever they go.

“As a group, we have to move on and our full focus is now on Glasgow this weekend.”

Meanwhile Paddy Jackson’s hopes of playing his rugby in France took a blow after one of the reported leading contenders to sign him ruled themselves out.

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Clermont had been rumoured to be favourites to sign the former Ireland and Ulster fly half, but their sports director Franck Azema put an end to the speculation.

“The Irish opener will not come” he said emphatically.

“There is no contact between Paddy Jackson and the club and no desire on our part to engage his services. I trust our workforce in this position where we do not lack resources with Camille Lopez, Patricio Fernandez, Ice Toeava and Dorian Lavernhe who continues to progress and whom we trust. With the constraints imposed by the Salary Cap, it is not possible to strengthen the position of opener where the internal solutions are numerous.”

It comes after Exeter Chiefs dismissed the possibility of signing Stuart Olding.

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Rob Hunter, Exeter’s forwards coach, was speaking to the club’s official website in the aftermath of their 45-5 victory over London Irish on Sunday and stated the following.

“I can tell you what I know, which is nothing, it’s not something that we’ve discussed in the office.”

“So, it’s another one of those where we’ve been linked to somebody but we’ve not spoken to an agent and we’ve not spoken to a player. It’s not on our radar at all.”

“We get linked to lots of players, but it’s nothing to do with us really.”

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Turlough 4 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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