Stuart Olding: Former Ireland and Ulster centre signs for French club Brive

Stuart Olding will make his return to rugby action in France with second-tier team Brive
Stuart Olding will make his return to rugby action in France with second-tier team Brive

Stuart Olding has joined Brive six weeks after his Ulster and Ireland contract was revoked following a nine-week rape trial.

The 25-year-old has signed a two-year deal with the French side, who were relegated from the Top 14 this season.

Olding and former Ulster team-mate Paddy Jackson were cleared of rape in the trial earlier this year.

He will link up with former Ulster and Ireland forward Jeremy Davidson, who is the new coach at Brive.

The French club announced Olding's arrival on their website on Monday afternoon.

A brief statement said that the Ireland centre "will continue his career in Brive for the next two seasons".

Stuart Olding has signed a two-year contract with Brive
Olding's arrival was confirmed by Brive on Monday

The Brive statement also spoke of Olding's "versatility" with the Ulsterman also having played at full-back and fly-half for the Irish province.

Earlier this month, English Premiership club Sale Sharks said there was "no substance" to reports linking them with both Olding and Jackson.

The BBC later learned that one of Sale's main sponsors had raised concerns over the club being linked with the duo.

Two weeks after the players' acquittals, the IRFU and Ulster revoked their contracts with immediate effect following controversy over details of social media and text messages which emerged during the trial.

An IRFU/Ulster Rugby statement said: "In arriving at this decision, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby acknowledge our responsibility and commitment to the core values of the game: Respect, inclusivity and integrity."

Ulster Rugby's chief executive Shane Logan later said in a BBC interview that he "could not envisage" Jackson or Olding playing for Ulster or Ireland again.

Olding emerged as one of the most talented young backs in Irish rugby after making his Ulster debut in 2011.

He made his Ireland debut in 2013 but injuries severely hindered his career and he made just three further appearances for his country before the rape charge led to him being stood down from playing duty in July 2017.