IRFU Sack Jackson and Olding Following Review

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Ulster's match with Ospreys to demonstrate in support of the woman who was at the centre of a rape case involving two of the side's players

IRFU Sack Jackson and Olding Following Review

One hundred fans bought an advert in the Belfast Telegraph calling on Ulster to reinstate the players who are suspended while their conduct is investigated by Ulster Rugby and the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU). The review was called after the pair were acquitted of the rape of a then-19 year old girl at Jackson's home in June 2016.

All jurors also acquitted Jackson of sexual assault.

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

Jackson and Olding, and teammate Craig Gilroy are the subject of a review by the IRFU and Ulster rugby, which is expected to report in the coming days.

More than 250 people protested outside Ravenhill as Ulster played Ospreys last night.

Former Ulster and Ireland captain Willie John McBride added his considerable weight to the debate, saying both players should be permitted to resume their careers.

In a statement released to the BBC, Olding stated his regret at the outcome of the decision, and said he will now seek new challenges elsewhere.

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

IRFU Sack Jackson and Olding Following Review

I said outside the 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. I bear no one any ill will.

Green Party deputy leader and South Belfast MLA Clare Bailey attended the demonstration and said that the "women of Ulster and Ireland have had enough".

It's not about the verdict in this trial, it's about what has been revealed about certain players attitudes towards women that have been described as offensive, but for me it's not offensive, it's unsafe and harmful. Mr Jackson later apologised for the messages.

A number of major sponsors of Ulster Rugby voiced concerns.

"Such behaviour falls far beneath the standard that your organisations represent and as such we demand that neither of these men represents Ulster or Ireland now or at any point in the future".

Ulster Rugby's shirt sponsor Bank of Ireland (BoI) said it was "highly concerned" about the "serious behaviour and conduct issues" that emerged in the trial.

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