Ulster open to bringing back Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding
Ulster Operations Director Bryn Cunningham has said that he is open to the idea of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding returning to the club.
Jackson and former Ulster teammate Stuart Olding both had their contracts with Ulster Rugby revoked earlier this year following an Ulster and IRFU internal review after both men were cleared by a Belfast court of rape charges.
Jackson subsequently signed for Perpignan in the Top 14 while Olding moved to Brive where he is playing in the PROD2 but Cunningham said that both players could potentially return to Ulster in the future.
"I think the one thing about that is that everybody appreciates that time can be a healer and, ultimately, we were dealing with a situation where two guys and the other two members of the group were acquitted of all charges, so I suppose there is nothing to say that down the line at some point then maybe those guys come back and play in the white of Ulster," Cunningham told The Telegraph.
"It is probably just too early and too raw for many people to probably to make any firm judgment on that."
Cunningham also said that the Ulster playing group had become disillusioned by the ongoing stories surrounding their former teammates and that their culture ultimately kept the group together through the period.
"The player group were naturally disillusioned by everything. They are there week in and week out to try to prepare as best they can and deliver a performance at the weekend and there was a danger of that fragmenting and falling to pieces.
"Thankfully, it didn't and the main reason why it didn't is that, contrary to a lot of reporting at time, we have a really strong culture in the group and a real sense of togetherness."