Ex-Ireland rugby star Paddy Jackson signs for Perpignan

Former Irish international Paddy Jackson was sacked by Ulster and Ireland despite being acquitted of rape charges in March

Paris (AFP) – Former Irish international  Paddy Jackson, axed by Ulster and Ireland following a rape trial, has signed for French club Perpignan on a two-year deal, the club said Friday.

The 26-year-old was in the hunt for a new club after he and Ulster centre Stuart Olding were sacked despite their acquittal on rape charges in March.

Capped 25 times for Ireland, Jackson “will bring his wealth of international experience to the team,” said Christian Lanta, sporting director of Perpignan which won promotion to France’s Top 14 league at the end of last season.

The player’s Ulster and Ireland contract was terminated despite he and Olding being unanimously acquitted of raping the same woman in June 2016. Jackson was also unanimously acquitted of sexual assault.

Their contracts were revoked after an internal review of the high-profile case which brought to light a number of sexually explicit and offensive WhatsApp exchanges between the players.