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Paddy Jackson set to sign for French Catalan club

Paddy Jackson outside court in Belfast after being acquitted. Picture By Hugh Russell

PADDY Jackson is set to sign for a rugby union side in France, French media has confirmed.

USA Perpignan (USAP), is Catalan club based in Pyrénées-Orientales, and has made three other new signings in recent weeks.

The 26-year-old had his Ulster Rugby and Ireland contract revoked after an investigation into his conduct following a high profile rape trial.

Jackson and fellow player Stuart Olding (25) were both acquitted of rape, but during the trial in April misogynistic WhatsApp messages exchanged between the pair and other friends led to an investigation by their bosses.

Both were sacked by Ulster Rugby and Stuart Olding was signed last week by French PRO D2 club Brive.

Olding had struggled to find a new club with suggested moves to Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs ruled out after both clubs publicly distanced themselves from the player.

At Brive, he will be playing under former Ulster forward Jeremy Davidson.

Jackson too has had difficulties in securing a move, telling a court in Belfast last month, during a hearing to recover his costs in the lengthy trial, he was "without employment and without offer of employment".

French media now reports that his official move to USAP "is only a matter of time".

"Contacts between the Catalan club and the Irish international are very advanced. Both parties would have even reached an agreement at the beginning of the week," French Eurosport reported.

"The talented opening half has just been released by Ulster , after feeding news columns, and seeking a new challenge to revive his career. (He) should commit for at least a year."

It is not known how any new employment contract will affect his application to recover costs before Belfast High Court.

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