Rory Best Opens Up About His Appearance At The Jackson/Olding Trial In Detail For The First Time
Ireland and Ulster captain Rory Best has opened up about his appearance at the Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson rape trial back in January in detail for the first time in a very honest interview with BT Sport’s Rugby Tonight.
Best, along with Ulster teammate Iain Henderson and Craig Gilroy attended day three of the trial and caused huge controversy online. Many felt the Irish captain should not have been in attendance, with some even calling for him to relinquish his captaincy.
Following Ireland’s win over France a few days after his appearance at Belfast Crown Court, Best said it was important for him to get both sides of the story.
“The reason I was there is because I am on record as a character witness. It was important I got both sides of the story.”
It was also revealed by Judge Patricia Smyth that Best was “instructed by senior counsel” to appear in court.
“The only reason that Mr Rory Best was in this courtroom was because he was directed to be here by senior counsel.” she said.
“That’s the reason he was here. That’s the only reason. I think you should know that.”
But the criticism continued for some time until eventually it was all forgotten about, and Best was left to get on with his life and get back to playing rugby. The entire ordeal however took its toll on him, with Best describing it as a “really, really difficult” period in his life.
“It was a really, really difficult time.” Best said on Rugby Tonight
“I think the hardest thing for me was to try guide Ulster through it when I was given so much abuse myself. There was a lot of people calling for me to step down. I think the thing that got me through it ultimately was the support that, because I was away at the time – the Six Nations support from Joe (Schmidt) and the senior players within Ireland gave me.
“I feel that it’s a lesson that I hope my kids can take from. That if you’ve friends that are in trouble and they need a bit of help and they need a bit of support, and if they’re promising you that they’ve done nothing wrong – I think even though people may not think it’s the right thing to do, I think it is.”
“Ultimately nobody came out of the whole process a winner in the slightest. From an Ulster point of view I was just glad to get it all put to bed so that we could concentrate through that tail end of the season and actually playing rugby.”
If you can try and catch last night’s episode of Rugby Tonight. Best’s interview in full was excellent.