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Irish rugby chief leaves door open for Jackson and Olding return

IRFU chief David Nucifora has refused to rule out a return for Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.

The former Ulster duo are both now playing in France after their contracts were revoked in the wake of both being acquitted on rape charges.

However, Nucifora has kept the door open regarding a possible return for the pair at some point in the future.

"The boys have moved on and I'm glad they got themselves contracts but you can't say definitively whether they will or won't come back," he said.

"As time moves on I suppose we'll see, but there is no plan now to drag the boys back. I think they’re just getting on with their lives over there in France and hopefully they do well so as time goes on, we’ll see — don’t shut the door on anything."

Nucifora said that the union had not given any great consideration to the criteria the players might have to meet to be welcomed back.

"We haven't thought about it in depth," he said.

"I don't think we're at that point, making parameters, but I think you've just got to let life move on and we see what happens. I would suggest they'll really enjoy life in Brive and Perpignan, they're nice places, and maybe they don't want to come back.

"I think we're all making assumptions that they want to come back and maybe they won't."

 

Jackson is playing his rugby with Perpignan, who are at the bottom of the Top 14, having lost all seven of their opening league matches. The Challenge Cup didn't offer much solace last weekend, as Perpignan were beaten 24-41 at home to Sale Sharks in their opening game.

Olding, meanwhile, is impressing for second tier side Brive, having picked up Player of the Month honours for his earlier performances. He was duly rewarded with a new contract, running until the summer of 2020 although was then issued with a straight red card in his next game against Soyaux Angouleme.

Brive are fourth in the Pro D2 table, with five wins from eight matches.

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