Ulster have announced the signing of Leinster back row player Jordi Murphy.
Murphy joins up with former Leinster team mate, Marty Moore, who Ulster announced last month had signed for the province last month. Murphy joins Ulster on a two-year contract commencing at the end of the current season.
Back row has been a problem position for a few years and with Chris Henry just turned 33, Ulster needed to add strength to the position so a player of Murphy’s calibre is a welcome addition.
Murphy has 18 Irish caps to his name and scored a try in the Ireland’s opening try in the historic victory over New Zealand in Chicago in November 2016. He made his debut as a replacement against England in the RBS Six Nations 2014 and was ever-present throughout Ireland’s successful 2015 campaign.
He was selected for Ireland’s 2015 World Cup campaign and featured in the matches against Romania and Argentina, where he scored Ireland’s second try.
The last two games saw the emergence of Aaron Hall and Greg Jones, with Nick Timoney receiving further game time. Although these players are well thought of, they are not the finished article. Murphy brings experience that will aid their development as well as adding quality to an already-light starting back row.
I look forward to the dynamism at the break down brought by Murphy, providing he breaks the Ulster curse of injured back row players. Being Irish qualified brings both its pros and cons. It allows Ulster to use their NIQ spots in other positions, however, if he performs well and reclaims his Irish jersey, he will be missing for the Autumn Internationals and Six Nations campaigns.
There has only been two injuries of note, however the latter will be the more worrying one. Presuming Murphy had reconstruction on his ACL, the knee is unlikely to function like it did originally and, according to American website Regenexx.com, it is six times more likely for the person to suffer another ACL injury on either knee.
Jordi Murphy is a player of tremendous talent, and his injury came at a time when he was in the process of establishing himself as a dominant player on the international scene. As he has now fallen behind Dan Leavy, Josh Van Der Flier and Jack Conan, the move to Ulster allows Murphy a chance to benefit from first team rugby in order to force himself back into an Ireland jersey.