Ireland coach Richie Murphy. Ben Brady/INPHO
richie murphy

'It’s a really interesting role' - Murphy on Ulster opportunity as Ireland U20s impress

A bonus-point 43-8 victory over Wales keeps Ireland a close second in the table.

RICHIE MURPHY’S HAT will be in the ring to take over as Ulster head coach on a full-time basis, depending on how his interim tenure progresses.

The Ireland U20 boss will visit the province for a couple of days next week, before settling back into his bid for a third consecutive Six Nations Grand Slam.

Any Ulster business will be parked from then until mid-March when he steps into the job with the northern province.

Murphy described the role as a “special” opportunity and one he would be interested in continuing if given the chance.

“There’s conversations going on,” said Murphy when asked if he could remain in the role.

“From both sides, we’ve said that we’ll see how things go. See how things progress. Obviously, I’m contracted with the 20s for another 18 months but with it being an IRFU contract and Ulster being an IRFU contract, things could change there.

“At the moment, I’m going up for a period, until the end of the season, and we’ll see what develops from there.

“It’s a really interesting role and job. Obviously, things at the moment aren’t going very well up there but we’ll hopefully have an impact on that.”

The job came up in a phone call early this week as Dan McFarland’s mid-season departure was confirmed.

richie-murphy-speaks-to-the-team-huddle-after-the-game Richie Murphy speaks to the Ireland team huddle after the U20 win over Wales. Ben Brady / INPHO Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

“I was asked if I’d be interested in it. Of course, I would be. It’s a very exciting opportunity. To work with any of the provinces in Ireland is special. Ulster, from travelling up there on Friday nights when I was involved with the national senior team, it’s always been a very special place to watch rugby and the atmosphere is really good.

“I’m looking forward to, once we get through this period, going up and joining them.

“I will be there next week for a couple of days but then I’ll come back to the 20s for Wednesday, Thursday, when we train against the seniors.

“Then I will park it until I finish with the 20s. I think we finish here on the Friday (15 March), I’ll join them on the Monday, Tuesday prep in Belfast before flying to South Africa for two weeks. My wife loves me,” he added with a chuckle.

He will see plenty of familiar faces up in Ravenhill from his time in national squads, including plenty of his current U20 squad. They received the news of Murphy’s new role on Wednesday morning.

“It was interesting, we broke it to them on the Wednesday when it was coming out and there was a few funny looks really, so I’m going to have to work on my wee accent.

“The lads are great. They got the news and then switched back on. That was the challenge, something’s happened, nothing is changing between now and the end of the season’s Six Nations so we park that and we move on and they’ve done that really well.

“Preparation during the week, this team is definitely building and going in the right direction. We still probably feel there’s another gear in them so hopefully we’ll get that right before England.”

A bonus-point 43-8 victory over Wales keeps them a close second in the table, one point behind the Red Rose outfit.

henry-walker-celebrates-after-scoring-his-sides-third-try-with-hugo-mclaughlin-luke-murphy-and-sean-edogbo Ireland players celebrating Henry Walker's try. Ben Brady / INPHO Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

“We’re pretty happy with the result,” said Murphy. “Scoring 43 points on a night like that is quite difficult.

“At times, we probably overplayed and put ourselves in a little bit of trouble but on the back side of that, we were quite accurate with how we did that.

“We’re really happy but there’s still more in the team. We still have to try to build and get better for England.

“Some of the defensive tackle area stuff was really good and it’s something we‘ve been going after for a while. I think we can try and get a little more line speed and try to put them under a little more pressure.”

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel