Sunday 20 May 2018

Ulster fans given five-option survey in response to Jackson and Olding sackings

But province's CEO 'can't envisage' duo ever playing for club again after joint review

Paddy Jackson Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Paddy Jackson Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Stuart Olding Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

Ryan Nugent and Jonathan Bell

The Ulster Rugby Supporters' Club (URSC) has asked fans to consider five options as a response to the sackings of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.

The group has surveyed the fanbase in the aftermath of the two players being let go, giving people a number of responses to how they view the move.

These options range from backing the decision and moving on from the saga to boycotting the team's upcoming match on Saturday.

A section of fans have expressed their anger after the IRFU and Ulster Rugby revoked the players' contracts with immediate effect.

The five choices given to fans were as follows:

  • Pleased they are gone, they have brought disgrace to Ulster Rugby. See you on Saturday;
  • Move on, we are a Supporters' Club and we support the club not individual players. See you on Saturday;
  • Disappointed, but not surprised by the outcome. URSC to write to IRFU/Ulster expressing same;
  • Appalled at the outcome - protest at the Glasgow game. See you outside on Saturday;
  • Appalled at the outcome. Boycott Glasgow game. Won't see you on Saturday.

It comes as the Ulster Rugby CEO Shane Logan said the province and the IRFU did not envisage the players playing for club or country again.

Mr Logan insisted sponsorship money did not have any impact on the club's decision.

Jackson (26) and Olding (25) were both acquitted of the rape of the same woman at a party in Jackson's home in June 2016. Jackson was also unanimously acquitted of sexual assault.

"No sponsor including Bank of Ireland drove the decision," he 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.

"I think we were all shocked because I don't think what subsequently emerged was in line with what we knew of them or indeed how we expect any of us to behave.

"We waited quite deliberately with the IRFU before trying to adjudicate or weigh the facts and what had happened post trial."

French club Clermont have ruled themselves out of the running to sign Jackson after being linked with the out-half.

Meanwhile, four groups that help victims of sexual crime have written to the Lord Chief Justice and the head of the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland to ask for a review of how those that they help are dealt with by the courts.

The groups - Victim Support NI, Nexus NI, Women's Aid and the Men's Advisory Project - have taken out a full page advert in today's 'Belfast Telegraph'.

Irish Independent

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