Two Irish rugby players have been charged with rape by the PSNI

Ulster and Irish rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding are among four men to have been charged by the PSNI in relation to an alleged rape. 

Four men questioned about the incident, which is alleged to have taken place in Belfast in June of last year, are to be prosecuted, according to the Public Prosecution Service.

Both men have denied the charges and a solicitor acting on Jackson's behalf said he was “very disappointed” with the verdict.

Jackson, 25, and Olding, 24, face a rape charge while a third man faces a sexual offence charge and a fourth is to be charged with intent to pervert the course of justice.

"We are very disappointed at the decision of the PPS to prosecute given the particular circumstances and facts known in this case.

"Our client rejects completely the allegations made against him and we are confident he will be exonerated in due course."

A joint statement from Ulster Rugby and the IRFU read:

"The IRFU and Ulster Rugby are aware that Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been charged by the PSNI in relation to serious allegations made against them.

"The players have cooperated fully and strenuously deny the charges."

"The IRFU and Ulster Rugby take these allegations extremely seriously."

"To allow the players time to address this matter fully Ulster Rugby and the IRFU have agreed that they be relieved of their duties and obligations until the conclusion of this process.  Appropriate support structures will be put in place with them during this time."

"As this is a matter for the Public Prosecution Service it would be inappropriate to comment further."