Ulster and IRFU sack Jackson and Olding with 'immediate effect'
A joint statement from the organisations reads:
“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.
“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.”
Despite a jury finding the pair not guilty of rape at Laganside District Court, they will now have to look outside of Ireland for employment.
The two, who were banned from playing pending the trial, had pleaded not guilty to charges over the alleged incident on June 28, 2016.
The decision to part ways with the players comes after the IRFU and Ulster Rugby conducted an internal review following Jackson and Olding’s acquittal last month.
The review focused on a series of explicit group text conversations involving the players and their friends, which was revealed during the trial.
Two other men, Blane McIlroy, 26, and Rory Harrison, 25, were also acquitted of their respective charges in relation to the case.
The incident has sparked protests outside the club grounds, and several club sponsors have expressed concern following the case.
“As a sponsor of Ulster Rugby, Bank of Ireland is highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues which have emerged as a result of the recent high profile trial. The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby,” the statement read.
26-year-old flyhalf Jackson has made 25 appearances for Ireland since 2013, while 25-year-old Olding has made four.