Humphreys back in Ulster on his own steam

Ian Humphreys says his brother David had nothing to do with signing for Ulster

 Ian Humphreys (right) claims his brother David, former Direcdtor of Rugby in Ulster, had nothing to do with his return to the province. Photograph:  Inpho/Morgan Treacy

Ian Humphreys (right) claims his brother David, former Direcdtor of Rugby in Ulster, had nothing to do with his return to the province. Photograph: Inpho/Morgan Treacy


Ian Humphreys has claimed brother David was not involved in negotiations to bring him back to Ulster and says he would have returned to the province even if he’d known his brother was going to leave.

After a two-year spell with London Irish, the 32-year-old rejoined Ulster in May - just a few weeks before David Humphreys stunned Irish rugby by resigning as Ulster’s Director of Rugby to take up a new position with Premiership giants Gloucester.

Speaking for the first time since he and his brother went in opposite directions through the revolving doors at Kingspan Stadium, Ian Humphreys claimed: “he (David) didn’t really have much to do with my negotiations coming back”.

“To keep things simple it was taken out of his hands.

“Professional sportsmen are always coming and going all over the place, he got an opportunity to move on and do what he wanted to do.

“I’m back here regardless of whether he was going to be here or not. That wouldn’t have changed my decision if I’d known he was leaving.

“I’m back here because I want to be here and I want to be part of Ulster rugby. We have a great set-up here and I’m sure he’ll do really well there (Gloucester) as well.

“He’s got to do what he thinks is right for his family and I’m doing what’s right for mine. We talk regularly, so it’ll be interesting.”

Humphreys’ last game for Ulster was the Heineken Cup final defeat to Leinster at Twickenham in May 2012, and he hopes to be involved in Saturday’s pre-season friendly against the same opponents in Tallaght.

Ulster have failed to win a trophy in recent seasons, despite their ambitious plans on and off the pitch, but Humphreys believes the landscape has been transformed so dramatically that there can be “no excuses” any longer.

“We were always coming home eventually but the chance to come back here, seeing the new facilities and the new gym, it was an easy decision to make,” he said.

“We now have a stadium which matches the ambition of the club. It’s really imposing when you drive up to it and it inspires you when you drive through those gates.

“The way the stadium is now, there are no excuses for not performing on a Friday night. We’re creating a culture of no excuses, whether it’s on the training paddock or knowing your role on the field.”

With Paddy Jackson firmly ensconced as Ulster’s first choice number 10, Humphreys accepts his opportunities will be limited this season.

As the second oldest member of the squad, just a few months younger than Roger Wilson, he realises his experience will be utilised in all sorts of ways.

“That’s one of the reason I was brought in, to add a bit of experience, and I understand my role is partly that. but I want to play in as many games I can.

“In terms of (playing) 10, I know Jacko is there and he is in pole position. All I can do is play as well as I can in the opportunities I do get, in the friendlies and when he’s away with the internationals, and just enjoy it.

“Being away for two years has shown me that I’ve really got to appreciate my time here, because it’s a special place, and I don’t want to let my time pass by without enjoying it.”

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