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Ulster and Ireland rugby stars to be prosecuted for rape

Paddy Jackson, 25, and Stuart Olding, 24, deny the offence, which was alleged to have happened in Belfast last June.

Two Ulster and Ireland rugby stars are to be prosecuted for rape.

Paddy Jackson, 25, and Stuart Olding, 24, strenuously deny the offence, which was alleged to have happened in Belfast last June.

The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby said they took the allegations “extremely seriously” and announced both players would be “relieved of their duties and obligations” until the conclusion of the court process.

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Jackson (pictured ) and Olding have been "relieved of their duties and obligations" to both the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby (Paul Harding/PA)

Given the length of time court proceedings take in Northern Ireland, it is likely both will miss the entirety of the coming season.

The men were arrested and questioned last summer. They were released pending a report being submitted to prosecutors in Northern Ireland.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has said four men questioned in relation to the incident are to be prosecuted.

Jackson and Olding are to be prosecuted for rape.

Another man is accused of sexual offences while the other faces counts of withholding information and perverting the course of justice.

Summons were served on the men on Monday. They will appear in court to face the charges next month.

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