Belfast Telegraph

Sponsor in talks with Sale Sharks after club linked to move for ex-Ulster players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

By Ryan Nugent

A lead sponsor of English rugby club Sale Sharks has spoken to the club's boss over any potential move for Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding after they were linked with the former Ulster rugby players.

The move comes after the English Premiership club moved to distance themselves to links to the ex-Ireland players.

It's understood that Andy Bell - co-founder of AJ Bell, Sale's stadium sponsors - has been in touch with Director of Rugby Steve Diamond since reports circulated about a possible move for the two players.

The pair were sacked by the IRFU and Ulster Rugby last month after details of misogynistic messages were revealed during a rape trial earlier this year.

While both players were cleared of all charges following the trial in Belfast, they were let go following an internal review by the IRFU and Ulster Rugby.

A number of clubs in England and France have since distanced themselves from both players.

AJ Bell say that while it is true Mr Bell spoke with Mr Diamond on the matter, the company did not raise concerns or objections about a potential signing. In a statement last night, the company said: "Sale Sharks are very aware of the strong values engrained within our business, many of which are shared by the club and their supporters.

"We have total faith in Steve Diamond and the owners to reflect these values whilst they are stewards of the club."

On Wednesday, the club distanced itself from the players saying there was no substance to the rumour.

"Sale Sharks can confirm there is no substance to the rumours circulating in relation to the signing of the two international rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding," the Greater Manchester club said. "Our search continues for top-class players to bolster the squad for next season."

Belfast Telegraph

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