Belfast Telegraph

Decision to sack Jackson and Olding the right move, says ex-international Moore

By Adrian Rutherford

One of the UK's top rugby pundits has said Ulster were right to sack Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.

Brian Moore said he had "little or no sympathy" for the pair.

The duo, who were cleared last month of raping a woman, had their contracts torn up at the weekend after an internal review into their conduct. But the decision to axe Jackson (26) and Olding (25) has split opinion.

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Ulster Rugby's official supporters' club has canvassed its 938 members and said it was keeping its options open. Some fans have called for a boycott of Saturday evening's match against Glasgow in Belfast in protest at the decision.

Yesterday, former England international Moore, who is now a BBC pundit, said sacking the pair had been the right call. His comments came in his weekly column for the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Moore said: "Jackson and Olding might not feel they have been treated fairly, but as a father of four daughters, I have little or no sympathy for them.

"This is the real world and the sooner they and others realise it the better. In the words of Michael Corleone: "It's not personal; it's business."

The IRFU and Ulster Rugby review focused on a series of sexually explicit WhatsApp conversations involving the players and their friends about the sexual encounter at the centre of the rape trial. The messages referred to women in derogatory terms and were presented as evidence during the trial.

Former Ulster star Neil Best claimed Jackson and Olding had been "sacrificed" for sponsorship and money reasons, not morals and ethics.

It followed reports that Bank of Ireland, one of Ulster Rugby's main sponsors, contacted the club with concerns over "serious behaviour and conduct issues".

Mr Moore wrote in the Telegraph: "If you want sponsors to give you large sums of cash, you cannot expect them to have nothing to say when their image is threatened. If you want to talk about core values, you cannot ignore them when your top assets fail to show them.

"I do not accept that sportsmen are role models for anything other than their sport, but that cannot hold if you have a contract with a body which commits you to being one in a wider sense."

Belfast Telegraph

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