Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Ulster Rugby: Approval of Ulster players made Richie Murphy’s appointment feel inevitable

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Even in the immediate absence of the famed new manager bounce, the response from Ulster’s players to Richie Murphy’s arrival on a caretaker basis always made his permanent appointment feel a near certainty.

The former Ireland Under-20s coach was named head coach of the province on Monday, signing an two-year deal at Kingspan Stadium to replace Dan McFarland.

Having arrived fresh off the underage Six Nations at the end of March, Murphy’s record as interim boss reads played seven, won four, lost three.

Ulster exited the European Challenge Cup with a heavy defeat to Clermont under his watch but, now sixth in United Rugby Championship, have utilised a three-game win streak to improve two positions in the table since McFarland departed after five and half years in charge.

With his first pair of games taking the side to South Africa, and each of his opening four played away from home, Murphy spent his first month in post bereft of training time, lucky to get more than one full pitch session a week.

His most pressing task was to improve the mood of a group that scrum half John Cooney last month said were not even enjoying their victories in the winter.

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