Ulster chairman stands firm

Date published: April 17 2018

Ulster chairman Shane Logan has reiterated the Irish Rugby Union's stance that Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding will not play for Ireland again.

The pair were found not guilty last month of raping a Belfast student, but still had their contracts with Ulster and Ireland revoked due to the explicit nature of a series of text messages sent between the pair and numerous colleagues on the night the alleged incident took place.

While being welcomed in some circles such as the Belfast Feminist Network, it has sparked furious protest from Ulster and Ireland fans alike, who have demanded an inquiry in to the investigation.

But Logan has dismissed as a conspiracy, rumours circulating that the decision to revoke the contracts was made due to pressure from sponsors such as the Bank of Ireland.

“No sponsor including Bank of Ireland drove the decision,” Logan told the Press Association.

“We have taken on board everybody’s views right across society, right across our supporter group, our sponsor group, our players, clubs, volunteers, we are part of society.

“But at the end of the day, having looked at all those things, the decision was based on alignment with what it is we stand for, in particular the value of respect.

“The players themselves admitted in their own statements that they were way short of what was expected of them.”

Asked about the men’s chances of playing for Ulster again, Mr Logan said: “That is not something that is being envisaged."

Asked about their chances of appearing for Ireland, he said: “The position is joint. It’s a joint Irish and Ulster rugby position…The statement is clear and it is not something that we are contemplating.”

Logan went on to deny suggestions that the men had been made 'scapegoats' or that they 'were being hung out to dry'.

“They have done a lot for Ulster and Irish Rugby. They have made a very serious mistake…I hope that they will learn from that and I hope they fulfil their potential going forward," he said.

Meanwhile, Clermont head coach Franck Azema has distanced himself from rumours that the Top 14 champions were looking to sign fly-half Jackson.