What next for Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding?
"I think the English clubs are going to come under pressure if they try and sign them"10:38 Monday 16 April 2018, 10:38 16 Apr 2018
The exit was as amicable as possible in the end. The pressure was slowly starting to mount from the sponsors, Ulster sponsors Bank of Ireland went public with their concerns about what they called “serious behaviour and conduct issues”.
The options, it would appear were limited. The IRFU took the only course of action that would quell the fall-out from the trial that was as much about attitudes of the men in question toward women than it was about alleged actions.
9 months after being relieved of their duties, having been accused and cleared of a crime after a lengthy trial in Belfast. Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding were to have their contracts revoked.
The pair have both twice publicly stated their desire to resume their careers, the prospects of them ever playing in Ireland appear slim and none. Jackson could end up plying his trade in France.
The Sunday Times reports that French Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne are now favourites to sign the out-half with suggestions that the player's representatives have already been in negotiations with the club.
Jackson hasn't played since starting for Ireland against Japan on the 24th of June 2017. Ireland ran out 35-13 winners with the out-half kicking five successful conversions.
Olding was linked with a move to the Premiership winners Exeter Chiefs, before forwards coach Rob Hunter poured cold water on that story.
"Not on our radar at all", was to response to questions about the links with Olding.
"I can tell you what I know, which is absolutely 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, it's just not on our radar, and it’s nothing to do with us really."
Irish Independent rugby correspondent Ruaidhri O'Connor was a guest on OTB AM on Monday morning, he suspects the pair might struggle to restart their careers without more scrutiny from sponsors:
“My gut will be Jackson will go to France and Olding may have go further afield, I think the English clubs are going to come under pressure if they try and sign them, this has made an impact in the UK that it hasn’t made in France.
“I think the further afield you go the less this stuff sticks to you, but if you just move to England where reports of the trial, I was surprised it didn’t get more (coverage) but the verdict and the IRFU decision to revoke the contracts certainly has been picked up big time, rugby fans over there are very much aware it happened, I don’t know if it got the same emotive response.”
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