Monday 15 October 2018

Murphy out of Ulster's South African opener

Ulster's Jordi Murphy. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ulster's Jordi Murphy. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Jonathan Bradley

Ulster don't expect Irish international Jordi Murphy to be out of action for long but have admitted it is "unlikely" that he will see any action until at least the visit to Munster at the end of this month.

The former Leinster flanker was making his debut for the province against Edinburgh last Friday and sustained damage to his ankle ligaments, ruling him out Sunday's trip to the Southern Kings.

"We're taking it day by day at the moment," said head coach Dan McFarland.

"We don't see it as a long-term injury at the moment and we'll reassess as the week goes on. There is potentially (a chance he joins the side for the Cheetahs contest on September 21) but it's unlikely at this stage."

A 30-man touring party will depart Belfast today, flying from Dublin to Johannesburg via Doha, before ultimately making it to their destination in Port Elizabeth. They will be down a few key names for the trip with a five-day turnaround before taking on the Cheetahs in the altitude of Bloemfontein.

Murphy's former Leinster team-mate Marty Moore is yet to make his debut for the province since his summer switch from Wasps, the tighthead prop having picked up a calf knock in training.

The A side's contest with Leinster last Friday proved to be a costly one with Chris Henry, Pete Browne and Jack Owens all picking up injuries that have ruled them out of making today's flight.

With another game for the second string this weekend, and the likes of Rory Best, Jacob Stockdale, Louis Ludik and Luke Marshall all still unavailable, it's natural to assume that resources will be stretched over the coming fortnight, even though Jean Deysel, Clive Ross and Tom O'Toole have all regained fitness.

"I'm comfortable with the fact we're taking a squad that can cope with that," added McFarland.

"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 covered but you can never say never. Obviously there's a limit on what you can do feasibly and, 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."

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