"There's no us and them" - Murphy hits back at 'United Nations' barb

Skills coach Richie Murphy has kicked to touch Eddie Jones' jibe about the Ireland squad being a ...
Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

18.10 20 Nov 2020

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"There's no us and them&q...

"There's no us and them" - Murphy hits back at 'United Nations' barb

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Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

18.10 20 Nov 2020

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Skills coach Richie Murphy has kicked to touch Eddie Jones' jibe about the Ireland squad being a 'United Nations'. 

Five of the team that will start Saturday's Autumn Nations Cup game with England qualified through the residency rule, while another three are among the replacements.

Argentina's Matias Moroni referred to Ireland as "the Irish Barbarians", while England's Australian head coach Jones said, "I heard someone calling them the United Nations, mate, so I had a little chuckle.


"Andy Farrell, Mike Catt are just selecting the team they are allowed under the regulations.

"I can understand how Irish people would be upset about Irish-born players missing out. But they are the laws and regulations of international rugby; they are just sticking by the regulations."

Jones' barbs were put to Ireland skills coach Richie Murphy, who replied, "We've a group of players, obviously, who are all eligible to play for Ireland.

"We select that squad early on in relation to who we feel is in the best place to play for Ireland over the next number of weeks.

"To tell you the truth, we think of all of our players as being Irish.

"They've been in the country, they're members of their local communities, and we just get on with it from there."

England haven't been shy of using residency rules to their advantage either, with Billy and Mako Vunipola both named to start against Ireland.

The siblings were born of Tongan parents in New Zealand and Australia respectively.

Manu Tuilagi (Samoa), Willi Heinz (New Zealand) and Joe Cokanasiga (Fiji) are among other non-English born players to be capped by Jones.

Murphy says it means the world for 'project players' to play for their adopted country, adding, "When the guys come in and play for Ireland, they're in a situation where they're more than happy to do that.

"And they take on the challenge as if they were anyone else.

"I can't say how they actually feel, but from a coaching point of view and from a group point of view these guys come in, they fit into the group really well and they're taking us forward.

"They're adding in the environment, they're questioning, they're giving opinion.

"They're working with the other guys, and there's no 'us and them' - it's Ireland, as a team, as a squad and including the management."

And even with a sizeable chunk of the squad not being born in Ireland, Murphy feels the management have no problem motivating the side for a game against the auld enemy, "People are always looking for little things, but for us it's all been about a test match.

"All the ones that we play in, our preparation is very similar and just little things would stick out but there's been nothing special this week in relation to trying to build-up these guys.

"These guys are playing for Ireland. They've made that choice to come to Ireland, they're ready to go.

"They understand some of the history and some of the background that's there, but it's not something that we've hyped at all within the group."

Confidence in Ross

Meanwhile, Murphy says he has the utmost confidence in Ross Byrne.

The Leinster out-half will start ahead of Billy Burns and the injured Jonathan Sexton at Twickenham on Saturday.

England have made a habit in the recent past of zeroing in on the Irish number 10, particularly Sexton.

But Murphy says Byrne is up to the challenge ahead of him, "I'm very confident in Ross. Ross is getting a big opportunity.

"Obviously coming out of Johnny's shadow like he does for Leinster is tough, because people will be obviously very focused on him.

"But he's led the week really well, he's stepped up his communication with the guys around him, and his leadership and his work with the likes of James Ryan and the other boys has been really good.

"He's going into a game, a test match, that he knows is a massive opportunity for him personally but I know that Ross will put the team first and try and guide the team in the right direction."

Alan Quinlan previews the Ireland clash with England at Twickenham

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Autumn Nations Cup Eddie Jones England Ireland Richie Murphy Ross Byrne Twickenham

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