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'We think of all our players as being Irish' - Ireland brush off 'United Nations' jibe

Assistant coach Richie Murphy pointed out how well integrated foreign-born players have become in Ireland.

Ireland's XV contains five players who qualify via the residency rule.
Ireland's XV contains five players who qualify via the residency rule.
Image: INPHO

THERE WAS NEVER any hope of Eddie Jones being able to resist a jibe at Ireland this week and he duly delivered a couple yesterday, including labelling Andy Farrell’s side “the United Nations.”

Jones was referring to Ireland having picked five players who qualified via the three-year residency rule, which will rise to five years from 2021 onwards.

Jones did point out that Ireland are simply doing what the rules have permitted them to do – as well as failing to mention England’s use of the same rule.

New Zealand natives Jamison Gibson-Park, Bundee Aki, and James Lowe, as well as South Africa natives Quinn Roux and CJ Stander, start for Ireland tomorrow against England in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Ireland assistant coach Richie Murphy said there is no feeling within the Irish camp that they need to defend themselves after Jones’ mischievous comment.

“No, definitely not,” said Murphy today. “We have a group of players who are obviously 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 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.

“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, 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 to the environment, they’re questioning, they’re giving opinions and they’re working with the other guys.

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“There’s no ‘us and them’, it’s Ireland as a team, as a squad, including the management.”

Murphy was speaking after Ireland’s captain’s run led by new skipper James Ryan at a wet Twickenham.

With Johnny Sexton out injured, 25-year-old Ross Byrne will make just his second Test start at out-half tomorrow and Murphy is backing him to impress.

“I’m very confident in Ross,” said Murphy. “He’s getting a big opportunity, obviously coming out of Johnny’s shadow like he does for Leinster is tough because people will be very focused on him.

“But he has led the week very well, he has stepped up, his communication with the guys around him, his leadership and his work with James Ryan and the other boys, has been really good.

“He’s going into 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 to guide them in the right direction.”

Originally published at 15.52

Mike Sherry joins Gavan and Murray to preview the big one in Twickenham:


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Murray Kinsella

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