Two Ulster and Ireland rugby stars who were acquitted of raping the same woman have been sacked.
Employers Ulster Rugby and the Irish Rugby Football Union have confirmed Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding’s departure following an internal review into their conduct.
While Jackson, 26, and Olding, 25 were found not guilty last month after a high-profile trial, other aspects of their behaviour have been heavily criticised, with major sponsors of Ulster Rugby having voiced concern.
The IRFU and Ulster Rugby review had focused on a series of sexually explicit WhatsApp conversations involving the players and their friends about the sexual encounter at the centre of the rape trial.
In a statement the IRFU and Ulster Rugby said: ‘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.’