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'It's a lesson I hope my kids take from it' - Rory Best opens up on 'difficult time' during Belfast rape trial

Independent.ie logo Independent.ie 12/10/2018 Ger Keville
Ulster and Ireland's Rory Best © Provided by Irish Independent Ulster and Ireland's Rory Best

Ireland captain Rory Best has stood my his decision to attend the Belfast rape trial of team-mates Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding and hopes that his kids would do the same if placed in a similar scenario.

Jackson and Olding were cleared of all charges after being accused of raping a 19-year-old student.

Best was widely criticised for attending the trial just days before Ireland's Six Nations match against France. There were widespread calls for Best to give up the Irish captaincy while the hashtag #NotMyCaptain trended on Twitter.

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Following Ireland's victory over France, Best revealed he attended the trial "because I am on record as a character witness. It was important I got both sides of the story".

Judge Patricia Smyth added that Best was "instructed to attend by senior counsel".

Speaking on BT sports' Rugby Tonight, Best spoke about the "difficult time" he went through and how he hoped his kids would learn from the experience.

"It was a really, really difficult time," said Best.

Ireland rugby captain Rory Best. (AP Photo/Michel Euler) © Provided by Irish Independent Ireland rugby captain Rory Best. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

"The hardest thing for me was to try and guide Ulster through it while I was getting so much abuse myself. There were a lot of people calling for me to step down, and I think the thing that got me through it was, ultimately, the support that Joe [Schmidt] and the senior players within Ireland gave me.

"I feel that it's a lesson I hope my kids take from it. If you have friends that are in trouble and they need a bit of help and support, and if they are promising you that they have done nothing wrong, even though people may not think it's the right thing to do, I think it is.

"Ultimately, nobody came out of the process a winner in the slightest. From an Ulster point of view, I was just glad to get it all to bed so we could concentrate on the tail end of the season and actually playing rugby."

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