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Wednesday Aug 15, 2018

Acquitted Paddy Jackson opens up after fresh new start in France

Acquitted Paddy Jackson opens up after fresh new start in France

It has been a troublesome past year for Ireland international fly-half Paddy Jackson. The Ulsterman was released from his provincial contract following his high-profile court case but is now looking to resurrect his career with in the Top 14 this season.

The 26-year-old and former Ulster team-mate Stuart Olding were acquitted of rape following a trial in March this year. Since then, both players had their contracts with the IRFU revoked.

With his future in Ireland remaining unclear, Jackson opted to join recently promoted French Top 14 side Perpignan after a move to the English Premiership with Sale Sharks fell through.

Jackson turned out for his new club in a pre-season friendly against Toulouse last weekend, scoring three conversions in the 21-19 victory at the Satde Aimé Giral.

Speaking ahead of the new season Jackson said he was keen to leave his past behind and start a fresh chapter in the south of France.

“I have come out somewhere where people know about it, but they are all respectful and understanding about it,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“You only can really understand if you have been in my shoes or my family’s shoes.

“It’s been difficult, but it’s something that me and my family have just had to get used to,” he said.

There is no doubt that Jackson faces a new challenge in the Top 14 this season, but the opportunity is there for the Ulsterman to re-build a career which has stalled in recent years.

Match highlights as Perpignan beat Toulouse in pre-season friendly


  • drg
    3:48 PM 17/08/2018

    Ah, thanks for clarifying that. Ok, messages as well don't look great on a character point of view, but Calum Clark was EXACTLY who I had in mind when I wrote my original post. He clearly and purposefully did what he did. Jackson et al, as far as we can fairly comment on, didn't do anything illegal (According to the courts and a jury of their peers etc). I totally agree with you regarding the stigma... some shit doesn't wash clean..

  • reality
    1:08 PM 17/08/2018

    The contracts were revoked officially because of some whatsapp messages that came out during the trial where they spoke in a derogatory way about women. Because as you know, 20-something-year-olds who say crude things about women in their private chats is something completely unheard of. It was a handy excuse for the IRFU to sack them both, because in spite of the not guilty verdict, the trial by media had already condemned them both and there would have been a lot of bad press for the IRFU as a result if they had kept them on. Even now a lot of people still speak about them as if they were monsters and the poor victim that they put through hell, in spite of the fact that the jury didn't even take an hour to declare them both not guilty after hearing both sides. It's handy when the 'values' card can be pulled out. If someone deliberately breaks someones arm at the bottom of a ruck (Callum Clarke), yeah, whatever, nothing wrong with the values, just a few months' ban is sufficient. When someone sends crude messages to friends in a private chat, it's unacceptable and he has to be sacked.

  • andinov
    4:43 PM 16/08/2018

    You're right. Why are the IRFU even getting involved in the moral guidance of the Irish nation? If he's innocent under the courts then what exactly did he do wrong?

  • drg
    11:26 AM 16/08/2018

    Obviously only those involved know what truly happened, but based purely on the legal fact it was acquitted, it seems harsh that their IRFU contracts were revoked... Again, purely on how it reads based on the court decision, seems like it was someone "pulling" and then someone else getting a little involved in the action.. sure, doesn't look great from a 'respectable rugby player', role model, influential character point of view, but true character doesn't often seem to be used in every other judgement of player, why now?


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Acquitted Paddy Jackson opens up after fresh new start in France | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos