Northern Ireland news

Video: Paddy Jackson says 'bonjour' to French side Perpignan

Paddy Jackson pictured outside court in Belfast after being acquitted earlier this year. Picture By Hugh Russell

FORMER Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson has appeared in a welcome video on the Twitter page of his new club Perpignan.

Jackson signed for the newly-promoted Top 14 French side earlier this month after being acquitted alongside former teammate Stuart Olding of raping a woman at a house party in 2016.

Despite being found not guilty, Ulster Rugby and the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) announced in April Jackson (26) and Olding (25) were being sacked over their conduct after lewd WhatsApp messages were revealed during the trial.

 The video, released today, shows Jackson addressing the club's fans in French.

Earlier today, IRFU performance director David Nucifora told a press conference JAckson and Olding could return to Irish rugby at some point but said they are not being considered for selection in "the immediate future".

Speaking ahead of Ireland's third Test in Australia, he said: "I don't think anything is ever forever".

IRFU rules only allow players to be considered for Ireland selection if they play for Irish clubs. Olding has signed for French club Brive.

Nucifora said: "Who knows what could happen or what will happen?"

"The players now have found new contracts so that is a positive for them personally, individually, and everyone just has to move on from that.

"For the immediate future, there's no thought that they will be considered. They are playing overseas at the moment. If you are playing overseas, you are not considered."

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