Reports of Sale Sharks signing the Ulster outhalf Paddy Jackson appear to be premature after the English club announced there is "no substance" to reports they are interested in signing Jackson and fellow former Ulster player Stuart Olding.
An English newspaper reported that the Premiership club had agreed a deal to sign Jackson, with Olding possibly set to follow, but a brief statement on the club’s website has distanced the club from the story.
The club statement read: “Sale Sharks can confirm there is no substance to the rumours currently circulating in relation to the signing of the two international rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding. Our search continues for top class players to bolster the squad for next season.”
Opposition to the signings among Sale supporters was substantial and included the creation of a petition against the move on Facebook, notification of which was posted on the club’s website. This follows Clermont Auvergne and Exeter Chiefs also issuing statements recently distancing themselves from reports that they were considering signing the players.
Jackson(26) and Olding (25) had their Ulster contracts, which were due to run until June 2019, revoked last month after a review conducted by the IRFU and Ulster following the high-profile Belfast rape trial verdict on March 28th. Both men were acquitted of raping the same woman in June 2016 with Jackson also cleared of sexual assault. Two of their friends, who faced related charges, were also found not guilty.