Saturday 22 September 2018

Jackson deal looks dead as Sale backer speaks out

Rugby​

Paddy Jackson. Photo: PA Wire
Paddy Jackson. Photo: PA Wire

Rúaidhrí O'Connor​

Sale Sharks' move for Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding appears to be dead in the water after one of the club's main sponsors 'AJ Bell' contacted the club to express its concerns.

The investment firm, which holds the naming rights for Sale's home ground, has made its feelings known publicly and its statement appears to kill any chance of the former Ireland internationals joining the Premiership club.

On Tuesday night, it was reported that Jackson had agreed a deal with Sale and that a move for Olding was close but the reaction of supporters, sponsors and a local politician appears to have forced the club into a U-turn.

Jackson and Olding have been left searching for a club after the IRFU revoked their contracts in the wake of their being acquitted of rape after a nine-week trial.

In a subsequent review, the union found that WhatsApp messages involving the pair which appeared in evidence fell well below the standards expected of them.

"Sale Sharks are very aware of the strong values engrained within our business, many of which are shared by the club and their supporters," AJ Bell co-founder Andy Bell told the BBC in a statement.

"We have total faith in Steve Diamond and the owners to reflect these values whilst they are stewards of the club."

If indeed the move to Sale does not go through, it means the duo may have to step down a level or move further afield in order to resurrect their careers.

Meanwhile, Ulster's Ireland winger Andrew Trimble has announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

However, there was some good news for the beleaguered province as Springbok Marcell Coetzee indicated he will be fit for the start of the 2018/'19 campaign.

Irish Independent

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