27K sign a petition asking that Jackson and Olding never play rugby again 4 months ago

27K sign a petition asking that Jackson and Olding never play rugby again

"We do not want young rugby players and fans to think this is okay behaviour to emulate."

A petition has been launched calling for the IRFU to review the behaviour of the men involved in the Belfast rape trial.

Over 27,000 people have signed the petition, which emphasises the "worrying conduct and attitudes of players which many do not feel are representative of Irish people."

It says a review is "the minimum you can do to ensure the integrity of Irish rugby."

27K sign a petition asking that Jackson and Olding never play rugby again

The four men who were acquitted in Belfast this week have all played rugby at various levels.

Paddy Jackson has played for Ulster and has 25 Ireland caps.

Stuart Olding and Blane McIlroy have also both played for Ulster, while Rory Harrison has played for UCD.

Jackson and Olding are both under contract with Ulster until 2019.

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The petition asks the IRFU to take into consideration the men's admissions in court, the Whatsapp records of their dialogue (which you can read here), their public image and the IRFU code of ethics.

"The Irish rugby team act as ambassadors of Ireland," it states.

"We do not want other countries to think that this behaviour and these attitudes are representative of Irish people.

"The Irish rugby team are also heroes of many young people. We do not want them to feel that what has been revealed throughout the trial was or ever will be acceptable or celebrated.

"We do not want young rugby players and fans to think this is okay behaviour to emulate."

The petition asserts that professional rugby teams 'regularly' drop players for inappropriate behaviour.

A review by the IRFU and Ulster rugby is already underway. It was launched on Wednesday after the trial verdict was reached.

"We wish to acknowledge that this has undoubtedly been a difficult and extremely traumatic time for all involved," the IRFU said in a statement.

It said it would review the matter in line with existing procedures for contracted players.

"A Review Committee, made up of senior representatives of the IRFU and Ulster Rugby, has been appointed and will conclude its review as soon as practicable.

"The players will continue to be relieved of all duties while the Review Committee is in process and determining its findings."