Northern Ireland

Ulster players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding to face rape trial

Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson deny the charges

Ulster and Ireland rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been returned for trial on rape charges.

Both men deny raping the same woman at a house in south Belfast in June last year.

They were charged three months ago, but made their first court appearance on Tuesday.

No date has yet been set for their Crown Court trial, but it is expected to be held early next year.

Stuart Olding, 24, of Ardenlee Street in Belfast, is charged with two counts of rape.

Paddy Jackson, 25, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, is charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault.

Also in court were two other men charged in connection with the case.

Blane McIlroy 25, of Royal Lodge Road, Belfast is charged with one count of exposure, and Rory Harrison 25, of Manse Road, Belfast is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Both deny the charges against them.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and Ulster Rugby have said Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding will not play again until the court process concludes.