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02nd May 2018

Paddy Jackson reportedly close to lucrative Sale Sharks move

Teammate Stuart Olding may also be joining him

Patrick McCarry

Sale have also found themselves linked with Wallabies fullback Israel Folau in recent weeks.

Paddy Jackson looks set to be playing his rugby in England’s Aviva Premiership next season.

The former Ulster fly-half is available on the free market after being axed from his provincial contract with the Irish governing body the IRFU (Irish Rugby Football Union). The contract of Jackson and teammate Stuart Olding was also revoked, in April, after the conclusion of their internal review.

In late March, the pair were found not guilty of rape and sexual assault of a young woman after a lengthy trial in Belfast. Jackson later apologised for some ‘degrading and ­offensive’ WhatsApp messages about the woman involved in said case.

With both men experienced campaigners in league, European and Test matches, it was always likely that some clubs would look beyond their recent off-field travails and seek to sign them up.

Jackson was recently linked with a switch to Clermont, in France, while Exeter Chiefs’ Rob Baxter was forced to deny his club were interested in signing Olding.

Now, according to The Daily Telegraph, both men could end up in the North West of England. Jackson is reportedly set to be given a two-year contract worth £200,000 a season. That is a significant salary but a drop in the region of £25,000-35,000 on his now revoked contract with Ulster and Ireland.

There has been no official comment forthcoming from Sale but the likelihood is that any signings may not be announced until June or early July. The paper is also claiming that Olding may also be signed up by Sale.

At present Sale have former Wallabies star James O’Connor and Dubliner AJ MacGinty as out-halves. Centre Will Addison is off to Ulster next season so Olding could certainly fill a gap there.