Willie John McBride has called on Ulster and the IRFU to reinstate two players acquitted of rape.
Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding remain unavailable to participate in team activities as the IRFU and the province continue to conduct an internal review.
In a statement noting the not guilty verdict earlier this month, the IRFU said that an earlier internal review was postponed in an effort to respect the judicial proceedings, now that the proceedings have concluded they have begun a separate probe.
Former Ireland and Lions rugby player Willie John McBride was a guest on RTÉ Radio’s Today programme and expressed the view that the pair should be reinstated without delay:
“The guys have come through a very traumatic couple of months. They have been tried every day walking out of the court and they have been found not guilty.
“This has been a very sad affair. For this bunch of young people, when alcohol came in common sense went out
“Now you have some people saying 'get rid of them', which is totally unfair because these guys are not guilty.
“As far as I'm concerned, these young men, I think, have learned their lesson," he said.
“All of them have issued their regrets and their sadness about the affair and I think it is time that they got back to doing what they do best, and that is playing rugby.”
The interview follows the publication of a full-page advert in Wednesday’s Belfast Telegraph calling for the reinstatement of the players.
The advertisement which is signed by a group of self titled ‘real fans standing up for the Ulster men’ appears to be a direct response to an ad taken out recently in the same newspaper calling for Olding and Jackson to never again play for Ireland or Ulster.
A full page ad in the newspaper costs £6,114.56 according to the INM sales website.
— William Sheehan (@willsheehan68) April 11, 2018
A crowd-funded ad has been placed in the Belfast Telegraph today calling for Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding to never play for Ulster or Ireland again https://t.co/TjFSBC541D pic.twitter.com/AqrsbhUFTI
— Siobhán Fenton (@SiobhanFenton) April 6, 2018