An international rugby player accused of raping a woman after a night out told police he didn’t “penetrate her at any point”.

Ulster player Stuart Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street in Belfast, denies one count of rape as the high-profile trial hears audio recordings of police interviews.

Olding was questioned by detectives at Musgrave PSNI (Police Service Northern Ireland) station about the alleged incident in June 2016.

Fellow Ireland international Paddy Jackson, 26, from Oakleigh Park also denies raping the same woman and a further charge of sexual assault.

Two other men charged in connection with the alleged incident also deny the charges against them.

During the police interviews on June 30 2016 – two days after the alleged rape – Olding denied having intercourse with the complainant.

He said: “I didn’t penetrate her vagina with my penis at any point.”

He also told detectives from the PSNI’s rape crime unit that he did not see Jackson penetrate the woman.

“I didn’t see that,” he said.

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson arrives at Belfast Crown Court

During further questioning, Olding added: “I didn’t see Paddy penetrating her from behind. He was behind her but I didn’t see him penetrating her.”

The court also heard that Olding told police Jackson was “sitting on the bed” watching the woman “give” him oral sex.

Olding rejected allegations that he had forced the complainant to perform oral sex by putting pressure on the back of her head and pulling her on to his penis.

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Stuart Olding arrives at Belfast Crown Court

When asked by police what made him believe she was consenting, Olding answered: “She was doing it. I wasn’t forcing her.”

Denying applying pressure to the complainant’s head, Olding further stated her hand had been on his penis during the sex act and that she had been “above” him.

Earlier in the taped police interviews, Olding was asked if there had been any discussion the morning after the alleged attack between himself and Jackson about what went on in the bedroom.

Paddy Jackson of Ireland kicks a conversion
Paddy Jackson of Ireland kicks a conversion

He said: “Yes. We just talked about what happened. We were pretty hungover. We were drunk whenever it was happening.”

At the end of the interviews, Olding’s solicitor Joe Rice said: “You can take it from his attitude that he categorically denies any involvement in these allegations.”

A juror in the rape trial of two Ireland and Ulster rugby players has been discharged because of illness.

Addressing the 11 remaining jurors, Judge Patricia Smyth told Belfast Crown Court: “I have received a medical report in respect of the person in your group who was ill and, as a result of the content, I have spoken with him and discharged him from any further involvement in the trial.”

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