Sale say 'no substance' to rumours they were to sign Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding
Sale have announced that they will not be signing Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.
The Ulster and Ireland backs were acquitted of rape in March but then had their contracts terminated after other aspects of their behaviour that came to light during the trial were heavily criticised.
It had been reported that Sale were in talks with a view to signing the duo, but the Sharks have issued a statement distancing themselves from players who are in search of a new club.
"We can confirm there is no substance to the rumours currently circulating in relation to the signing of the two international rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding," the statement read.
"Our search continues for top-class players to bolster the squad for next season."
Press Association Sport understands that Sale explored the possibility of taking Jackson and Olding to the AJ Bell Stadium for next season only to decide against it.
Opposition to the signings among Sharks supporters was substantial and included the creation of a petition against the move on Facebook, notification of which was posted on the club's website.
While Jackson, 26, and Olding, 25, were found not guilty after a high-profile trial major sponsors of Ulster Rugby voiced concern over their conduct.
A review conducted by club and country 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.