New Ulster signing Ruaidhri Murphy will now seek to declare his allegiance to Ireland after deciding to switch from Aussie outfit Brumbies to hook up with Ulster on a two-year deal.
After spending 14 years in Australia, Murphy had pursued the option of representing the Wallabies but the 2007 U-20 Grand Slam winner will now switch his attention to resuming international duty with the land of his birth.
"The Brumbies are a fantastic franchise and Canberra is a brilliant place to live, but I am Irish," said the 26-year-old loosehead prop who will join on a two-year deal after the Super Rugby season ends next autumn.
"I have an Irish family and I have always had the urge to return to Ireland one day to play my rugby back home.
"Ulster are a quality team. They are currently one of the leading sides in Europe. It is an exciting time to be joining the province with the new stadium and the new training facilities that have been built at Ravenhill.
"I spoke to David Humphreys about the vision he has for Ulster – he has huge ambition. That is exciting and I hope that I can play a part in bringing those aims to reality."
O'LEARY FACES HEARING
Grand Slam hero and Heineken Cup winner with Munster Tomas O'Leary will appear at an English RFU disciplinary hearing this evening following his sending off in London Irish's Premiership match at London Wasps last Saturday.
The scrum-half was dismissed for allegedly stamping – contrary to law 10.4(b) – on the head of London Wasps' flanker James Haskell in London Irish's 23-20 victory at Adams Park.
The case will be heard in London by a panel of Jeremy Summers (chairman) Dr Julian Morris and William Harbage QC.
REDS HOOKER CRISIS
MUNSTER lock Dave O'Callaghan will see a specialist after injuring his right knee in the first half of Munster's victory against Zebre last Saturday night. Duncan Casey also had to be replaced with a dead leg.
Head coach Rob Penney has said that he is planning on getting reinforcements in the hooker position after a number of injuries with Casey joining Mike Sherry (knee), Damien Varley (delayed concussion – expected to return to training this week) and Niall Scannell (hyper-extended elbow) on the treatment table.
"We're investigating (who's next in line) so you'll know pretty shortly where we're going to with that. We're making progress on that," said Penney.