OPINION: IRFU need to be open about review on international duo

Did sponsor pressure play its part in Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding having their contracts terminated
Did sponsor pressure play its part in Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding having their contracts terminated

We can only assume Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding lost their jobs because they exchanged private messages.

The Irish internationals have paid the heaviest sanction possible by their employers - the Irish Rugby Football Union - their contracts revoked and unlikely to ever represent their country or Province at rugby again.

I say assume because the joint statement from the IRFU on Saturday morning confirming the fate of the rugby stars, did not confirm the actual reason.

The statement said: ‘In arriving at this decision, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby acknowledge our responsibility and commitment to the core values of the game: Respect, Inclusivity and Integrity.’

There is no argument against the fact that the private messages exchanged between the parties involved in the recent court trial - in which everyone was acquitted - were unacceptable in today’s society.

In spite of apologising they have still lost their jobs.

The pair, like their team mate Craig Gilroy, who was implemented only because of a private message he had sent, should have had a sanction imposed.

It would appear, and I am entitled to make the assumption given Olding’s comments in a statement after the IRFU decision, that other factors resulted in the outcome.

Public opinion and pressure from sponsors would be the reasons for the axing of Jackson and Olding from Irish rugby.

The IRFU and/or Ulster Rugby must, at the earliest convenience, make the findings of their review public in the interests of accountability.