Rugby duo sacked af­ter rape ac­quit­tal

Sunday Mail (UK) - - Lesley Roberts -

Two Ul­ster and Ire­land s tars who were ac­quit­ted of rape have been sacked by rugby bosses.

Ul­ster Rugby and the Ir­ish Rugby Foot­ball Union have torn up Paddy Jack­son and Stuart Old­ing’s con­tracts.

The an­nounce­ment fol­lows an in­ter­nal re­view into their con­duct . Both play­ers ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment and re­gret at the move.

While Jack­son, 26, and Old­ing, 25, were found not guilty last month af­ter a high- prof ile trial , other as­pects of their be­hav­iour have been heav­ily crit­i­cised, with ma­jor spon­sors of Ul­ster Rugby voic­ing con­cern.

The IRFU and Ul­ster Rugby re­view had fo­cused on sex­u­ally ex­plicit What­sApp con­ver­sa­tions in­volv­ing the play­ers and friends about the sex­ual en­counter at the cen­tre of the rape trial.

The mes­sages, which re­fer red to women in deroga­tor y terms, were pre­sented as ev idence dur­ing the nine-week trial at Belfast Crown Court.

Jack­son apol­o­gised and said he recog­nised his be­hav­iour had fallen far short of the val­ues ex­pected of him as an in­ter­na­tional player and a role model for the game of rugby.

Old­ing also ex­pressed re­gret. He said: “I am very sorry this day has come to pass.”

RE­GRET Paddy Jack­son

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