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'No desire on our part to engage his services' - Clermont head coach rules out signing Paddy Jackson

Independent.ie logo Independent.ie 6 days ago

Clermont head coach Franck Azema has shot down speculation of a move for Paddy Jackson after it was reported that the out-half was close to signing with the French giants.

Jackson is looking for a new club after his contract with Ulster and Ireland was revoked on Saturday along with Stuart Olding's following an internal review into their behaviour.

24 June 2017; Paddy Jackson of Ireland kicks a conversion during the international rugby match between Japan and Ireland in the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile © Provided by Irish Independent 24 June 2017; Paddy Jackson of Ireland kicks a conversion during the international rugby match between Japan and Ireland in the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Jackson and Olding were acquitted of rape at a trial in Belfast last month, with the out-half also found not guilty of sexual assault.

However, derogatory messages sent in a Whatsapp group, which were disclosed during the trial, led to many people to call for the IRFU and Ulster to sever ties with the duo, which they did over the weekend.

14 October 2016; Paddy Jackson, right, and Stuart Olding of Ulster during squad training at Kingspan Stadium in Ravenhill Park, Belfast. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile © Provided by Irish Independent 14 October 2016; Paddy Jackson, right, and Stuart Olding of Ulster during squad training at Kingspan Stadium in Ravenhill Park, Belfast. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Speculation quickly mounted that Jackson was close to finalising a move to the Top 14, with Clermont Auvergne reportedly the favourite to sign the number ten.

However, Azema has addressed the reports in a press conference this afternoon, saying that there is no truth to the story.

26 December 2014; Ulster's Paddy Jackson, left, and Stuart Olding at the final whistle. Guinness PRO12, Round 11, Ulster v Connacht, Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill Park, Belfast, Co. Down. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE © Provided by Irish Independent 26 December 2014; Ulster's Paddy Jackson, left, and Stuart Olding at the final whistle. Guinness PRO12, Round 11, Ulster v Connacht, Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill Park, Belfast, Co. Down. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

"There is no contact between Paddy Jackson and the club and no desire on our part to engage his services," he told the Clermont website.

"I trust our squad in this position where we do not lack resources with Camille Lopez, Patricio Fernandez, Isaia Toeava and Dorian Lavernhe who continues to progress and whom we trust. With the constraints imposed by the Salary Cap, it is not possible to strengthen the position where the internal solutions are numerous. "

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