Belfast Telegraph

Ulster forward Herring admits team saddened by Olding, Jackson Kingspan exit

By Jonathan Bradley

A former teammate of sacked Ulster Rugby stars Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding has said the team is saddened by their exit.

At the side’s first press conference since the pair had their contracts revoked, Rob Herring said the team had learnt of the development with a “great deal of sadness”.

In a pre-prepared statement at a media event — which barred news reporters — the Ulster and Ireland hooker said the remaining players know the two will go on to be successful on and off the pitch.

Jackson and Olding were acquitted last month of raping the same woman at Jackson’s home in June 2016. But after an internal review was undertaken by Ulster Rugby and the Irish Rugby Football Union, the players were informed their contracts were being revoked with immediate effect.

The team’s usual Tuesday press conference took place at Kingspan Stadium yesterday. It began with warnings that the player and coach in attendance would not be taking questions on matters relating to the legal or review process.

However, Rob Herring, who has been with the province since 2012 and has been capped three times by Ireland, read a prepared statement.

He said: “It is with a great deal of sadness that the players and pro staff have learnt of this outcome. We know that the two boys will be successful both on and off the pitch wherever they go. As a group, we have to move on and our full focus is now on Glasgow this weekend.

“It’s news that’s out there now. We’ll have to move quickly to a massive game against Glasgow.”

Yesterday news journalists seeking entry to the briefing were unable to gain access, with at least one other having been refused accreditation for last Friday’s game against Ospreys.

A spokesman for Ulster Rugby said: “The attendance of non-sport journalists at recent match-week media events has caused significant disruption to regular attendees, who have been negatively impacted to the extent that they have been unable to access sufficient information and content for the days leading up to that week’s game.

“Therefore, following consultation with regular press conference attendees, it was decided that access to this week’s event would be restricted to sport journalists only.”

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