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Paddy Jackson will be in demand despite Clermont rebuff

 

By Jonathan Bradley

For fans these days, when their team signs a new player from overseas, Google is the first port of call.

Unfortunately for Paddy Jackson, that's what he now has to contend with as he looks for his next employers.

He and Stuart Olding both had their contracts with Ulster and Ireland revoked over the weekend despite being acquitted of raping the same woman in June 2016.

Aside from the still raging controversy, it is not hard to see why a player of Jackson's stature, and of course one available at this time of the year and with no international commitments during the season, would appeal in a rugby sense.

And while the decision was taken that he would no longer be able to represent his native province or land, there is little doubt he will be snapped up by someone soon.

However, it would appear that team will not be Clermont.

The French champions were thought to be the front-runner for his services, but head coach Franck Azema took the unusual step yesterday of posting a statement on their website distancing themselves from reports, citing sufficient depth and a lack of budget.

"There is no contact between Paddy Jackson and the club and no desire on our part to engage his services," he said.

"I trust our squad in this position where we do not lack resources with Camille Lopez, Patricio Fernandez, Isaia Toeava and Dorian Lavernhe who continues to progress and whom we trust.

"With the constraints imposed by the salary cap, it is not possible to strengthen the position where the internal solutions are numerous."

That statement followed a similar denial of interest from Exeter Chiefs over the weekend, while London Irish, now the home of former Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss, refused to comment on their position.

The denials have been swift, but one still assumes that with enough distance, and perhaps a language barrier, employment will still come soon enough.

Belfast Telegraph

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