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Murphy misses South Africa trip but Ulster say ankle injury not 'long-term'

The northern province departed Belfast for Port Elizabeth yesterday.

JORDI MURPHY HASN’T travelled with the Ulster squad for their two-week Guinness Pro14 trip to South Africa, but the northern province say the injury he sustained against Edinburgh last week isn’t a ‘long-term’ issue.

The Ireland international suffered ankle ligament damage during his first appearance for Ulster last Friday, and wasn’t part of Dan McFarland’s 30-man travelling party which departed Belfast for Port Elizabeth yesterday.

Jordi Murphy before the game Murphy suffered ankle ligament damage last Friday. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Murphy will miss the games against Southern Kings this Sunday and the clash with the Cheetahs five days later, and though it remains unclear as to how long the 27-year-old might be sidelined, Dan McFarland isn’t planning without him long-term.

“It’s a loss not having Jordi but we’ve got some good back rowers,” the head coach said.  

Ulster will arrive in Port Elizabeth today after their journey from Belfast included stops in London, Doha and Johannesburg.

The province face into the first of back-to-back games in South Africa with a clash against the Kings on Saturday [KO 1.15pm, eir Sport/Premier Sport] before a five-day turnaround to get ready for the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday 21 September.

McFarland has brought 30 players south of the equator including fit-again Springbok Jean Deysel, who could make his first appearance of the season at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, but flanker Chris Henry has remained at home after suffering a calf strain last week.

New signing Marty Moore — who has yet to make his debut for the province — didn’t travel and will continue to work rehabbing the calf injury which he sustained during pre-season. 

Ireland internationals Rory Best (hamstring) and Jacob Stockdale (hamstring) remain sidelined, while Louis Ludik (hamstring), Kyle McCall (elblow) and Luke Marshall (knee) are also on the casualty list and Iain Henderson sits out as per the IRFU’s player management policy. 

“I’m comfortable with the fact we’re taking a squad that can cope with that [five-day turnaround],” McFarland said.

“I think the difficulty comes when you leave yourselves a little thin over there, when you train as a group for a certain length of time and then at the last minute you having to bring people out there.

“So I’m hoping we’ll have that we’ll have that covered but you can never say never, obviously there’s a limit on what you can do feasibly, yeah it certainly makes it difficult.

“In terms of the planning side of things, we’ll go with a team that we feel can beat the Kings and we’ll take a look at it going into the Cheetahs game, depending on how the guys rock up the following week.” 

Ulster squad for South Africa:

Forwards (17)

John Andrew, Marcell Coetzee, Jean Deysel,Weihahn Herbst, Rob Herring, Ross Kane, Adam McBurney, Caleb Montgomery, Alan O’Connor, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney, Kieran Treadwell, Andy Warwick, Greg Jones.

Backs (13)

Will Addison, Billy Burns, Darren Cave, John Cooney, Angus Curtis, Craig Gilroy, Angus Kernohan, Stuart McCloskey, Johnny McPhillips, Peter Nelson, David Shanahan, Henry Speight, Jonny Stewart.

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Ryan Bailey

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