'We are in no position to comment on that' - Joe Schmidt on Best and Henderson attending Ulster players' rape trial
Joe Schmidt has declined to confirm if he gave Ireland captain Rory Best and Iain Henderson permission to attend the rape trial of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.
Best, Hendserson and Craig Gilroy were photographed arriving at Belfast Crown Court yesterday, as the trial reached its second day and the alleged victim entered the witness stand.
The players are all teammates of defendants Paddy Jackson, capped 25 times for Ireland, and Stuart Olding, who has also lined out for Ireland.
The other defendants are Blane McIlroy, a former Ulster Rugby player who has represented Ireland at Under-20 level, and Rory Harrison who played rugby for UCD and also for Belfast Harlequins.
When asked by the Irish Independent's David Kelly if he was aware Best and Henderson attended the trial, Schmidt answered: "We are in no position to comment on that. It is a legal matter."
However, while an on-going court case can not be discussed, there is no legal issue with Schmidt confirming if Best and Henderson had permission to attend the trial. Best, Henderson and the rest of the Ireland team were on a day off yesterday.