PADDY JACKSON AND Stuart Olding are to leave Ulster, the IRFU have confirmed.
Both the union and Ulster Rugby have been carrying out a review into the players’ behaviour in the wake of their acquittal on rape charges last month.
“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,” a statement reads.
“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.”
A jury in Belfast found Jackson (26) and Olding (25) unanimously not guilty of rape while Jackson was also acquitted of sexual assault.
Jackson says he is ‘deeply disappointed’ by the decision.
“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 brother. I am truly sorry.”
A statement from Stuart Olding reads: “It is with deep 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.”
Separately, Ulster Rugby say that Craig Gilroy has been suspended until 26 April. The province undertook a review to a text message from the Ireland player, which was read out during the trial.
“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,” a statement from the club reads.
“Craig will be unavailable for team selection until 26 April 2018.”
More than 250 people protested outside Ravenhill as Ulster played Ospreys last night.
The Irish professional rugby players union here say they “are committed to rugby’s values of respect, integrity and inclusivity.
“Through our Player Development Programme we will work to ensure that these values are upheld throughout the rugby family both on and off the pitch. As the representative body for Ireland’s professional rugby players, we will now take time to examine the way in which the review process was carried out by the IRFU,” a statement from Rugby Players Ireland reads.