Les Kiss says Paddy Jackson will be available for Ireland
Ulster coach confirms outhalf will be free to play a part in November Tests after next week
Les Kiss: “The statements have been put out and it would be inappropriate to make any further comment.” Photograph: Matt Mackey/Presseye/Inpho
Paddy Jackson should be still available to play for Ireland in this month’s international series despite both he and (currently injured) fellow Ulster squad member Stuart Olding having been questioned by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in relation to alleged sex offences.
Jackson was left out of the 27-man Ireland squad that travelled to Chicago for the game against New Zealand on Saturday, for what were described as “personal reasons”.
It has since become known that both he and fellow international Olding had been assisting police over the allegations after being arrested in late June. They both reject the allegations.
Jackson will not feature in Ulster’s Pro12 game at Edinburgh on Friday – the province’s last before a three-week break – due to game-management issues, according to Ulster director of rugby, Les Kiss. Olding is currently sidelined with a hip flexor issue.
“The statements have been put out and it would be inappropriate to make any further comment,” Kiss stated.
A statement issued earlier by Ulster Rugby said: “Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been assisting the PSNI with their enquiries.
“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.”
Lawyers representing the two players also issued statements in which they emphasised their clients’ rejection of the allegations and the fact that they had both fully co-operated with the police.
The 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).
Lock Peter Browne will be back after passing his concussion against Exeter and it is hoped that fellow secondrow Alan O’Connor – also concussed in that game – will also be released to play.
After now losing back-to-back league games, against Connacht and Munster, Ulster are aiming to bounce back in Edinburgh.
“It’s important that we’ve established ourselves in the top four again at the beginning of the break,” he added.