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14th Aug 2018

Stuart Olding Speaks Out For First Time Since Belfast Trial Verdict

Darragh Berry

Stuart Olding featured for his new side Brive in their 33-24 loss to Connacht and is trying his best to get his rugby career back on track.

Olding has spoken out for the first time since being acquitted in the Belfast Trial.

The Irish Independent state that Olding is settling in very well and that it’s a blessing to be back on the pitch.

“I got a D in GCSE French. That’s the height of it. But the guys are very good. All of the French guys here speak English to me and I try to reply in French to them a lot of the time. They appreciate that as well.

“Going out for coffees with the guys, I want to go out and learn the language. I don’t want to go out and sit by myself. I want to go out and enjoy myself. You pick up bits and bobs and guess what they are talking about. You pick up a couple of words and then you reply. It’s going well.”

“It’s been a blessing to get back out onto the pitch and get back into a team. I am very very thankful to Brive for that. They took me under their wing and I settled in very well and I just want to repay them for that.

“I settled in very well, a lot quicker than I thought. Coming over, moving over to a new country and everything was exciting but quite daunting as well. Not knowing anyone in the team apart from knowing of Jeremy Davidson back home. He had just left Ulster as I came into the academy that year.”

This is the first time Olding has spoken out since the trial verdict where his solicitor read out a statement on behalf of him.

In the statement, Olding said that:

“I am very relieved that the jury has accepted my explanation as to what occurred.

“I want to acknowledge publicly that though I committed no criminal offence on the evening of the 28th of June 2016, I regret deeply the events of that evening.

“I want to acknowledge that the complainant came to court and gave evidence about her perception of those events. I am sorry for the hurt that was caused to the complainant. It was never my intention to cause any upset to anyone on that night.

“I don’t agree with her perception of events, and I maintain that everything that happened that evening was consensual.

“The Stuart Olding who has been portrayed over the past nine weeks in this trial is not the real Stuart Olding. I am fiercely proud to represent my province and my country. I have worked very hard to achieve those goals.

“I hope to be able to prove myself going forward in all aspects of my life. I would like to thank my legal team for their hard work and their belief in me throughout. And finally to my family, thank you all for standing by me from the beginning.”

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