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Ulster to land Irish star Murphy in signing coup

 

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster expect to have Jordi Murphy signed up to a two-year deal by the end of this week after the flanker indicated his willingness to leave Leinster in the summer.

The 26-year-old Irish international had been thought set to sign a new deal at the RDS but instead has decided to make the journey north and join his old Leinster forwards coach Jono Gibbes in Belfast.

With 18 Irish caps to his name and in the prime of his career, the addition of Murphy will be a welcome one at Kingspan Stadium, where the province's pack depth has been tested this season.

The Barcelona-born back-rower is already the second new forward recruited by Operations Manager Bryn Cunningham for 2018-19. Wasps prop Marty Moore was announced as another new arrival last month as Ulster aim to shore up their forward department.

Hooker Rob Herring and lock Kieran Treadwell also signed new three-year deals last week, along with centre Luke Marshall, but there is still plenty of important business to be done.

Iain Henderson, Rory Best and Jared Payne are all out of contract this summer, although their negotiations would all be carried out either by, or in conjunction with, the IRFU given that Best and Payne are on central contracts and Henderson will require an upgrade.

Others with expiring deals include Craig Gilroy, Tommy Bowe and Darren Cave.

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