Rugby

Neil Francis Hits Out At 'Unfair' Treatment Of Paddy Jackson/Stuart Olding

Neil Francis Hits Out At 'Unfair' Treatment Of Paddy Jackson/Stuart Olding

Earlier today French Top 14 club Clermont Auvergne released a statement distancing themselves from Irish out-half Paddy Jackson after reports linked the two over the weekend.

It came after Exeter Chiefs dismissed reports that the club is considering signing former Ulster Rugby player Stuart Olding.

Ulster and the IRFU announced on Saturday morning that the contract of Olding along with that of Paddy Jackson had been revoked. That decision came in the wake of the two players last month being found not guilty of raping the same woman in 2016.

The IRFU subsequently carried out a review into the players' behaviour, which led to their contracts being revoked.

However, speaking on Today FM, former Irish player Neil Francis criticised the current situation. "I think we should move on and leave them be and let them find some employment when they get the chance."

I think this whole situation is unhelpful. I think it is unfair. What we are talking about is a non-story. Of course, Clermont don't need him if you look at the quality of the four out-halves they have there, so why would they bother picking up a fifth one. It is a non-story and it really is unhelpful.

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Earlier today, the head of Ulster Rugby, Shane Logan, told the Press Association that he did not believe they would play for Ireland or Ulster again, something Francis again took issued with. He was challenged by the TheJournal.ie's Sinead O'Carroll, who was also a guest on Matt Cooper's show.

Francis: I think that's unfair. I think they should play for Ireland again and should play for Ulster again. I mean you go back over what was said or expressed in those Whatsapp's, they were reprehensible. There is no question about that. I mean it is because they appeared in the public domain. If you look at any young man from age 16 to age 30, in any walk of life, in any socio-economic grouping, there wouldn't be a huge amount of difference, on the extreme level there, I mean some of the things said...

O'Carroll: Well Neil if that is true, our problem and rugby's problem is a hell of a lot bigger and the education programmes need to be expedited and need to be hell of a lot stronger. If those are the words being used about women in general, in peoples' WhatsApp groups across rugby teams or across any male groups in society, if they are the kind of words being used as normal and are thought of as normal then our problem is much, much larger than we've been talking about.

Francis: Well, it is normal...

The fall-out from last weekend's announcement looks set to continue, with former Ulster player Paddy Wallace also calling on the province to offer a better explanation for the move.

You can listen to the full podcast here.

SEE ALSO: Premiership Champions Dismiss Link With Move For Stuart Olding

Maurice Brosnan

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