Ruaidhri Murphy set to make Pro12 debut for Ulster

Prop’s sojourn in Australia shows alternative route to success

A few years ago Ruaidhri Murphy, the then ACT Brumbies prop was ramping up a campaign in Australia to prove he should be eligible to play for the Wallabies. Tonight Murphy is on the Ulster bench for the visit of Zebre to Ravenhill. Although back in Ireland, the 27-year-old has shown that there is life in rugby outside of the provinces.

A former pupil of Castleknock College, Murphy represented Leinster and Irish Schools, played with Ireland in the Under-19 World Cup in Dubai and was part of the Under-20 Grand Slam winning side of 2007 before moving from Leinster Leinster.

Exeter Chiefs were the next port of call before he moved to Australia. But signing with Ulster in the summer is likely to give him his first taste of pitch time tonight.

Rory Best may well get the loudest cheer as he starts his first match of the campaign and in Zebre the Belfast side face a team who have never beaten Irish opponents in the Pro12.


By the looks of this Ulster team that trend should continue. The backrow is strong with Robbie Diack, Chris Henry and New Zealander Nick Williams. The latter is expected to smash his way to some yardage while, with Darren Cave, Luke Marshall, Craig Gilroy and Andrew Trimble in the backline, there is some gas there too.

Treviso left Italy yesterday for a nine-day stretch in Ireland, with the squad staying on after Ulster to prepare for Munster next week.

Ulster should be thinking bonus point territory and last year Tommy Bowe and Best contributed a try each as they made their seasonal debuts in a 32-13 win.There seems to be room in this one for everyone to stretch their legs and bag some points.

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times