Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Murphy can answer Ireland’s call

By Hugh Farrelly

Geordan Murphy is in the mix for an international recall ahead of the clash with England tomorrow week.

The full-back has not played for Ireland since appearing off the bench in their Grand Slam-securing win over Wales in Cardiff last March and has spent much of this season sidelined after dislocating his shoulder playing for Leicester against Wasps last September.

However, the 31-year-old has featured off the bench for the Tigers in recent weeks and is expected to play against Gloucester tomorrow which, given the injury to regular Ireland full-back Rob Kearney, makes him an option for coach Declan Kidney against England.

“We'll give him a look,” confirmed Kidney. “We're hoping he'll get a start for Leicester against Gloucester. It was always our plan to bring him into training next week, whether he has enough game time or not — but you wouldn't rule anybody out.”

Ireland completed their two-day training stint in Cork yesterday, using the facilities at Nemo Rangers GAA club because the pitches at PBC Cork's Wilton grounds were frozen, and Kidney is optimistic about the injury situation ahead of Tuesday's team selection.

Captain Brian O'Driscoll, Stephen Ferris and Donncha O'Callaghan all have various knee problems while John Hayes took a bang to the head and Leo Cullen rolled an ankle in last weekend's 33-10 loss to France. However, Kidney is not ruling any of them out of his selection plans.

“Stephen Ferris and Leo Cullen didn't take any part in the last two days, but we'd expect them to be available for next week,” said Kidney. “John Hayes had all his check-ups, he was given the all-clear yesterday evening so he trained this morning and Brian O'Driscoll trained away fully.”

Prop Tom Court was withdrawn from Ulster's match against the Dragons tonight after injuring a rib but trained with the national squad and Kidney said he will be “okay to go”. Second-row Donncha O'Callaghan is due to see a specialist next week and has not been ruled out at this stage. One player definitely out of the England game is hooker Jerry Flannery, who was handed a six-week suspension on Wednesday for his kick on Alexis Palisson and Kidney said they will study the written judgement before deciding whether or not to appeal.

“I don't think in any way it was a deliberate act,” added Kidney.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph