IRFU announces the departure of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

Rugby Players Ireland is to examine the review process carried out by the IRFU in the wake of both Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding having their contracts revoked.

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.

People took to Twitter in response to the verdicts, using the hashtag #IBelieveHer - an worldwide hashtag which has been used previously to criticise how the justice system handles sexual assault and rape cases.

He said: "I recognise that my behaviour has fallen far short of the values expected of me as an global player, a role model for the game of rugby and as a son and a brother".

Craig Gilroy, meanwhile, will remain an Ulster player after being sanctioned.

"The treatment that I have received since my acquittal, both fair and unfair, has made me even more determined to prove myself".

He will be unavailable for selection by Ulster until 26 April 2018.

Belfast Feminist Network activists hold a protest outside the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast ahead of Ulster's Pro14 match against the Ospreys last Friday
Feminists to stage rally at Ulster rugby match after rape acquittal

Reports today suggest that Stuart Olding, who also had his contract revoked, is "on the brink" of signing with Premiership rugby champions and current league leaders, the Exeter Chiefs. "I am truly sorry", he said.

"With the support of my family and friends I shall seek new challenges elsewhere".

Earlier this week, the club's main sponsor expressed concern at the information revealed in the WhatsApp conversations during the court case while, this evening, more than 250 people protested outside Ravenhill as Ulster played Ospreys in the PRO14. I bear no one any ill will.

Prior to today's announcement, Jackson and Olding had been stood down for duty for Ulster and Ireland since charges were brought against them in July 2017.

The messages, which referred to women in derogatory terms, were presented as evidence during the marathon nine-week trial at Belfast Crown Court. Mr Jackson later apologised for the messages.

Two Ireland and Ulster rugby stars who were acquitted of rape have been sacked.

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