Crowds gather to protest outside Ulster rugby stadium

Sergio Conner
April 15, 2018

"Following a review, conducted in the aftermath of recent court proceedings, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have revoked the contracts of Patrick Jackson and Stuart Olding with immediate effect", it read.

Despite being found not-guilty in the trial in which they were accused of rape, Jackson and Olding's futures with Ulster Rugby and Irish Rugby have been in jeopardy since.

People took to Twitter in response to the verdicts, using the hashtag #IBelieveHer - an global hashtag which has been used previously to criticise how the justice system handles sexual assault and rape cases.

Ulster Rugby and the IRFU released a joint statement on Saturday morning.

The IRFU also suspended Irish national player Craig Gilroy until April 26 following a review of a text message he sent.

Mr Olding said he regretted the decision by the IRFU, describing his treatment since the acquittal as "both fair and unfair".

He had already been made unavailable for selection and will now face a further two-week suspension.

Stuart Olding has vowed to bounce back and

'My focus in the months and years ahead will be on rebuilding the trust placed in me by people throughout Ulster and Ireland'.

On Friday, there were protests outside Ulster rugby's grounds in Belfast, the first home game since Jackson and Olding's acquittal.

"It is therefore with great sadness and regret but with many cherished memories that I leave that behind".

Reports today suggest that Stuart Olding, who also had his contract revoked, is "on the brink" of signing with Premiership rugby champions and current league leaders, the Exeter Chiefs. I am truly sorry.

"With the support of my family and friends I shall seek new challenges elsewhere. I bear no-one any ill will".

The protest was organised by the Belfast Feminist Network and was attended by representatives from a number of women's groups around the country. Mr Jackson later apologised for the messages.

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