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Murphy will be devastated his sacrifice hasn't been rewarded

Jordi Murphy
Jordi Murphy
Chris Henry

By Chris Henry

It's never been a particular secret that Jordi Murphy's move to Ulster at the end of last season was with his Ireland future and Japan 2019 in mind.

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The dyed-in-the-wool Leinsterman would have banked a far bigger wage to take his talents abroad while, given how he played in his final season at the RDS Arena, he was hardly being ushered out of Dublin either.

His decision to head north was borne of a desire to keep his Ireland place and, given what we've seen from the IRFU before and since, was no doubt encouraged by the powers that be. Fluid boundaries between the provinces have been a calling card under the regime of David Nucifora, so it has to be seen as somewhat surprising that there was no reward for Murphy in the form of a second World Cup.

Obviously I'm not advocating taking players who aren't there on merit, but there is so little to choose between Murphy and Rhys Ruddock that it could literally have been the toss of a coin. Jordi got the nod last time around with Rhys the first back-rower called out. This time it could be the other way around.

I haven't seen Rhys do anything I think Jordi can't, and vice versa, but, given what the latter has sacrificed to book his spot - leaving his comfort zone but remaining in the system - I'm sure he's devastated.

To not even get a crack this summer in his favourite role makes it an especially bitter pill to swallow. Versatility is brilliant, never more so at a World Cup, but it does you no favours if you're only given chances played out of position.

Another Ulsterman to lose out was Will Addison and that was one that really surprised me.

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All the indications yesterday were that he'd done enough to get on the plane and I thought getting through what he did against Wales in Cardiff had got him there.

If there's any consolation to be found... it'll be quite the side Dan McFarland can put out in those first few weeks of the Guinness PRO14.

Belfast Telegraph


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