Two Ulster and Ireland rugby stars to face rape charges

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding strenuously deny the offence

Two Ulster and Ireland rugby stars to face rape charges

©INPHO/James Crombie

Two Ireland and Ulster Rugby players are to face rape charges after an alleged attack in south Belfast.

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding strenuously deny the offence.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and their club say they take the allegations "extremely seriously" and neither will play until the case is over.

In a joint statement, the IRFU and Ulster Rugby say: "The IRFU and Ulster Rugby are aware that Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been charged by the PSNI in relation to serious allegations made against them.

"The players have cooperated fully and strenuously deny the charges.

"The IRFU and Ulster Rugby take these allegations extremely seriously.

"To allow the players time to address this matter fully, the IRFU and Ulster Rugby have agreed that they will be relieved of their duties and obligations until the conclusion of this process.

"Appropriate support structures will be put in place with them during this time.

"As this is a matter for the Public Prosecution Service it would be inappropriate to comment further."

Mr Jackson and Mr Olding are among four men due before Laganside Magistrates next month.

Mr Jackson's legal team say they are confident he will be exonerated.

And Mr Olding's solicitor says his client welcomes the opportunity to restore his good name.