Rory Best has explained his decision to attend the rape trial of Ulster and Ireland team-mates Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding earlier this week.
Best and Ireland team-mate Iain Henderson attended the second day of the trial at Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday, when the alleged victim took to the witness stand to give evidence. Wednesday was a down day in the Ireland camp with no training or media duties.
Jackson and Olding are accused of raping a 19-year-old woman in June 2016. Ireland fly-half Jackson is also facing an additional charge of sexual assault. Both players strenuously deny the charges.
Best was asked why he attended the trial on Friday following Ireland’s captain’s run at the Stade de France, but the Ireland captain declined to comment.
Following Ireland’s dramatic 15-13 victory over France, Best broke his silence on the issue: ‘We sign out on a Tuesday night and Wednesday is our day off, so technically we don’t need permission to do stuff in our own time.
‘The reason I was there is it’s on the record that I’ve been called as a character witness. I was advised that It was important that I got both sides of the story so I could make an informed decision about that.
‘Because it is an ongoing legal matter I will not make any further comment.’