Almost 50K have now signed petition against Jackson and Olding playing rugby again 4 years ago

Almost 50K have now signed petition against Jackson and Olding playing rugby again

Almost 50,000 people have now signed a petition asking that the IRFU review the behaviour of the rugby players involved in the recent Belfast rape trial.

Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding, Blane McIlroy, and Rory Harrison were found not guilty of all charges brought against them on Wednesday.

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The petition has highlighted the "worrying conduct and attitudes of players" referenced in the Belfast trial including the men's admissions in court and their WhatsApp messages (which you can read here).

The petition reads: "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 OK behaviour to emulate."

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Jackson and Olding are both currently under contract with Ulster until 2019. Blane McIlroy has also played for Ulster, while Rory Harrison has played for UCD.

Jackson also has 25 Ireland caps.

The petition states that rugby clubs and national teams "regularly drop players" for inappropriate behaviour off the field.

A review by the IRFU and Ulster rugby was launched on Wednesday following the trial's verdict.

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The IRFU has said that it will review the matter in line with existing procedures for contracted players.

A statement reads:

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

"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."