Belfast - Ireland
rugby internationals Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have denied any
wrongdoing after being questioned by police over alleged sexual
The Ulster stars and another man were arrested over alleged incidents
at a Belfast property. They were released pending a police report being
sent to prosecutors for assessment.
Ulster Rugby made clear the men maintain their innocence.
"Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been assisting the PSNI (Police
Service of Northern Ireland) with inquiries," it said in a statement
"The players deny any wrongdoing and have not been charged with any
offence. As no charges have been brought forward, it would be
inappropriate to comment further."
The alleged offences and arrests happened in June but details have only now emerged.
Jackson, 24, has been capped for Ireland 16 times while centre
Olding, 23, has played four times. The two Belfast men are established
stars for Ulster Rugby and have played regularly this season.
Jackson did not travel to Chicago with the Ireland squad for Saturday's game against New Zealand.
The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said the out-half was left out of the party for "personal reasons".
Olding is currently out of action with a hip flexor injury.
Jackson's lawyers, KRW Law, said their client "rejects completely any allegations made against him."
His lawyers' statement continued: "Patrick has co-operated fully with
police in their inquiries and we have been liaising with police on his
"We are both disappointed and indeed concerned that this information
has been leaked to the press before the investigation has concluded and
well in advance of any final decision. This has the potential to be
prejudicial to our client's interests.
"We will not hesitate to take all necessary steps to protect his
legal position as he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. We
urge the media to restrain from any damaging speculation."
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said: "Police arrested
two men aged 24 and one man aged 23 on Thursday 30 June in relation to a
number of sexual offences, reported to have taken place at a property
in south Belfast on 28 June.
"The men have been interviewed and released from custody. A file will
be prepared for submission to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS). A
fourth man aged 24, will be reported to the PPS in relation to this
incident for perverting the course of justice."
Ireland squad for New Zealand Test in Chicago on Saturday:
Finlay Bealham, Rory Best (captain), Joey Carbery, Sean Cronin, Ultan Dillane, Tadhg Furlong, Craig Gilroy, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Robbie Henshaw, Billy Holland, Rob Kearney, Kieran Marmion, Jack McGrath, Luke McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Conor Murray, Jared Payne, Garry Ringrose, Donnacha Ryan, John Ryan, Jonathan Sexton, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, Andrew Trimble, Josh van der Flier, Simon Zebo