Rory Best explains his reason for attending Jackson/Olding trial
With additional reporting from Pat McCarry in Paris
The Ireland captain has finally spoken out.
Less than an hour after Ireland defeated France in Paris, Rory Best finally addressed the matter of his appearance at the court trial, in Belfast, of Ulster teammates Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.
Best, Iain Henderson and Craig Gilroy attended the trial. Up until this point, the IRFU had no comment to make on the matter.
After Ireland's 15-13 win, in response to a question from Gerry Thornley of The Irish Times, Best said he had been on a day off from Ireland duty. He commented:
"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, it's on the record that I was on the list as a character witness and it was advised that it was important that I got both sides of the story so I could make an informed decision about that.
"Obviously, as it is a legal matter, I will not be making any further comment on the matter."
Best was asked about his attendance at the trial during the week but declined to comment.
Irish player Paddy Jackson, 26, of Oakleigh Park, Belfast is charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault. Stuart Olding, 24 and also an Irish international, of Ardenlee Street, Belfast, is charged with one count of rape.
Meanwhile, Blane McIlroy, 26, of Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, is accused of one count of exposure.
Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road, Belfast, is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.
They all deny the charges.