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19th Jun 2018

IRFU open the door to Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson Ireland return

Jack O'Toole

IRFU Prerformance Director David Nucifora has said that he would be open to the idea of former Ulster duo Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding returning to the Ireland national team in the future.

Jackson and Olding both had their Ulster and IRFU contracts revoked in April after a joint internal review between the province and the union following the fallout of from a rape trial at Belfast Crown Court where both players were found not guilty of charges brought against them.

Jackson has since signed for Top 14 side Perpignan while Olding will line out for Brive next season in the French PROD2.

The IRFU have a policy of not selecting overseas based players with no overseas based player playing for Ireland since Johnny Sexton represented the national team while playing his club rugby with Champions Cup finalists Racing 92.

Both players would have to make a return to Irish provincial rugby to be considered for the national team and Nucifora left the door open for a return to international rugby should they come back to Ireland to continue their club careers in the future.

“It’s not one for me to say but I don’t think we can make a comment on that,” Nucifora said on Tuesday (via The Irish Examiner). “But I don’t think anything is ever forever, who knows what could happen or what will happen?

“For the immediate future, there’s no thought that they will be considered. They are playing overseas so at the moment if you’re playing overseas, you’re not considered.

“The players now have found new contracts so that’s a positive for them personally, individually, and everyone just has to move on from that. It was a tough year in regards to that for the players, for Ulster and for rugby in general.

“Hopefully, we don’t go through that ever again.”