Fall Nations Cup: “We think of all our players as Irish” – Murphy ignores Jones’ jibe

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New Zealand-born Bundee Aki is one of eight overseas players for the 23-man Irish squad to face England
Lieu: Twickenham Date: Saturday November 21 Start: 15h00 GMT
Blanket: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and BBC Radio Ulster and online with live text commentary

Kicking coach Richie Murphy says he considers every member of the Irish squad to be Irish following malicious remarks about the residency rules of England head coach Eddie Jones.

The teams meet on Saturday at the Fall Nations Cup in Twickenham.

Ireland has been called a “United Nations” by Jones on the grounds that eight of their 23-man squad for the match are from overseas.

“To tell you the truth, we consider all of our players to be Irish,” said Murphy.

Murphy, a member of Head Coach Andy Farrell’s coaching staff, said: “We have a group of players who are obviously all eligible to play for Ireland.

“We select this team early on based on who we think is the best place to play for Ireland over the next few weeks.

“They’ve been to the country, they’re members of their local communities, and we continue to live from there. ”

New Zealand trio Bundee Aki, James Lowe and Jamison Gibson-Park will debut in London, alongside South African couple CJ Stander and Quinn Roux.

Another player from South Africa, Rob Herring, Australia-born Finlay Bealham and former England Under-20 star Billy Burns have been named as substitutes.

World Rugby guidelines state that players are eligible to represent another country if they have lived there for three consecutive years, or if they have a parent or grandparent born there.

With some quarters calling Ireland “Irish barbarians,” England coach Jones took the opportunity to make a joke during his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

“I heard someone call them the United Nations, so I chuckled,” the Australian said.

He added: “I can understand how the Irish would be upset if Irish born players were missing out, but these are the laws and regulations of international rugby. They just follow the rules. “

‘There is no us and them’

With Ireland looking to end a sad three-game losing streak against England, Murphy is confident the foreign-born contingent is aware of the rivalry between the countries.

“There hasn’t been anything special this week when it comes to training these guys,” he said.

“These guys are playing for Ireland, they made this choice to come to Ireland, they are ready to go.

“They understand part of the story and part of the context. It’s not something that we put forward at all within the group.

“When the guys come in and play for Ireland they’re in a situation where they’re more than happy to do it and they take on the challenge like they’re anybody else.

“I can’t say what they really feel, but from a training point of view they fit in very well in the squad and they keep us going.

“There is no ‘us and them’, it’s Ireland as a team, including management. “

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