IRFU Issue Statement On Paddy Jackson & Stuart Olding

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Ulster and Ireland rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, who were last month acquitted of raping the same woman, have been sacked.

Stuart Olding are to leave Ulster, the IRFU have confirmed.

A jury of eight men and three women found Mr Jackson (26) and Mr Olding (25) unanimously not guilty of rape after deliberating for three hours and 45 minutes after a marathon nine-week trial at Belfast Crown Court.

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

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

In coming to their decision, the players' employers were underlining their commitment to "the core values of the game: respect, inclusivity and integrity".

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

Irish rugby's governing body has revoked the contracts of two internationals acquitted of rape citing "the core values of the game" after a trial exposed their use of degrading language towards the woman who accused them.

In a statement to the Press Association, Jackson said he was "disappointed" with the outcome, but added "I recognise that my behaviour has fallen far short of the values expected of me as an worldwide player" and that he is truly sorry. I am truly sorry.

However, the companies sponsoring Ulster and Ireland...

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

I would like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this process.

'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.

Stuart Olding also issued a statement upon the release of his contract being terminated.

One of the event organisers, Kellie Turtle, told Sky News: "This is to send a message to Ulster Rugby and the IRFU to take action on what we see as a very worrying underbelly of sexism and misogyny".

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding playing for Ulster.

He had already been made unavailable for selection and will now face a further two-week suspension.

While Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding's rugby futures are being held in the air for now, many expect the duo to take offers from clubs in England, or more likely France, where they can play away from public scrutiny.

A rally has been organised for tonight at Kingspan Stadium, ahead of the Guinness Pro 14 game against Ospreys, by Belfast Feminist Network, under the banner 'Stamp out Misogyny at Ulster Rugby'.