London Irish head coach Les Kiss has defended the decision to sign Paddy Jackson, the former Ulster player cleared of rape charges in a Belfast court last year.

The club has already lost a number of sponsorship deals on the back of the decision to sign Jackson from French club Perpignan, but Kiss has claimed that the majority of the London Irish fans back the move.

“The bottom line is that if you look at everything, I think there is more support than not. That’s my view,” Kiss said.

“First and foremost, Paddy is a good rugby player and it’s an opportunity for him to further his career. He saw that as a good opportunity.

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 “People will have their opinions on the back story and the past, but we believe what we are about and we believe we are doing the right thing. Things will be thrown at us I guess, but the story is about everyone -- we have signed a lot of good players.

“Ultimately we are a team and we will go out and play that way and come what may we will stick together.”

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Paddy Jackson after he was cleared of rape charges. Getty