Murphy holds out hope for IRB approval

Brumbies prop Ruaidhri Murphy wants to play for the Wallabies.ACT Brumbies prop Ruaidhri Murphy is refusing to give up hope of being eligible to play for the Wallabies and hopes the International Rugby Board will finally grant his wish by the end of the year.

Irish-born Murphy has been locked in a 12-month battle to be classified as an Australian player.

The ARU has backed Murphy’s bid to be in contention for a Wallabies spot and the the Australia and international players’ associations have written letters of support.

His case is expected to be finalised when the Test season ends next month and, if successful, he will no longer be classified as a foreign player on the Brumbies’ roster.

Murphy played for Ireland at a junior level and, before joining the Brumbies, spent five years plying his trade for Irish giant Leinster and English side Exeter.

But he holds an Australian passport and spent 12 years growing up in Perth. Under IRB rules, that’s not enough to classify him as an Australian player.

To play for the Wallabies he needs to have lived in Australia for three years and Murphy returned only last year.

If his request for special discretion is denied, Murphy will have to wait until March 2014 before getting a chance to make a Wallabies squad.

But the uncertainty about his international future does not faze the talented front-rower.

Instead his focus is on forcing his way into the Brumbies’ starting side for the 2013 Super Rugby season, despite contending with Wallabies Dan Palmer and Ben Alexander.

Murphy returned to Ireland for four weeks in the off-season but he has returned refreshed and determined to put pressure on the starting props.

”It [the international eligibility issue] is not a distraction at all, there’s no decision made on it yet,” Murphy said.

”I’m still pursuing it but as an outside pressure, it’s irrelevant.

”Everyone wants to be a starting tight-head or loose-head [prop] and I’m no different.

”I felt like I was coming home [to the Brumbies] this year … there’s no dark or grey areas, I knew what I was coming back to and how hard we had to work to raise the bar from last season.”

The Brumbies’ scrum was one of the strongest aspects of their game last season.

They boast an all-Wallaby front-row in Palmer, Alexander and hooker Stephen Moore, with Murphy, Scott Sio and Siliva Siliva not far behind.

But while the set-piece was solid, the Brumbies want to be even more dominant when the season begins next year.

In his two seasons with the Brumbies, Palmer has established himself as one of the most technically sound tight-head props in the competition.

He made his Wallabies debut in a mid-year Test against Wales.

But his hopes of adding more international caps to his name ended when he damaged ligaments in his big toe in the Brumbies’ season-ending loss to the Auckland Blues in July.

The 24-year-old had surgery three months ago and has returned to training with his teammates.

”Obviously [the Wallabies] was a goal but it was cut pretty short because of the toe injury,” Palmer said.

”I was disappointed by that, but there’s nothing you can do.

”We’ve got specific areas to improve [for the Brumbies scrum] next year, we want to put more pressure on opposition ball and we’re working at the moment to do that.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Comments are closed.