Wednesday 23 January 2019

Jackson ties up move to French club Perpignan

Paddy Jackson Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Paddy Jackson Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

Former Ulster Rugby player Paddy Jackson has been signed by French club Perpignan.

The 26-year-old, who was recently acquitted of rape, signed a two-year contract with the newly promoted Top 14 club.

Jackson and former teammate Stuart Olding had their contracts revoked by the IRFU after the organisation carried out a review following the trial's conclusion.

Yesterday, Perpignan announced the signing on their website, saying that Jackson is a "skilled kicker" who will bring "international experience" to the team.

"Paddy Jackson, in the tradition of the Irish fly-half, knows how to put his individual skills at the service of the team," a club spokesperson said.

The club did not include any comment on the rape trial or subsequent IRFU review that led to the fly-half's contract being terminated.

Jackson had previously been linked with Top 14 giants Clermont Auvergne and with Aviva Premiership side Sale Sharks.

The former Methodist College student was also rumoured to be weighing up a move to New Zealand to link up with provincial side Waikato, who recently hired former Ulster head coach Jono Gibbes to lead them this season.

Centre Olding was signed by French second-tier side Brive after his contract was revoked.

A jury of eight men and three women found the two players unanimously not guilty of rape after deliberating for nearly four hours after a marathon nine-week trial at Belfast Crown Court. Jackson was also acquitted of sexual assault.

Two other men, Blane McIlroy (26) and Rory Harrison (26), were also unanimously acquitted of lesser charges connected to the case.

Images of three of the men - Jackson, Olding and McIlroy - were posted on social media this week partying ahead of a Rolling Stones concert in London. A picture of the trio looking relaxed was posted on Mr McIlroy's social media account, with the caption: "What a weekend in London last week!! With the best people."

Yesterday, Ulster Rugby CEO Shane Logan confirmed he would leave after eight years in the role. In a statement, Mr Logan cited the renovation of the now-Kingspan Stadium and the financial strength of the province as achievements of his tenure.

Irish Independent

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