Jordi Murphy has won 18 caps for Ireland

Leinster and Ireland back row Jordi Murphy will join Ulster on a two-year contract at the end of this season.

The expected news was confirmed by Ulster on Wednesday after Tuesday’s revelation that the flanker had held talks with Ulster.

Speaking on Wednesday, Murphy said that it had been “an incredibly hard decision to leave Leinster”.

“I have made great friends and enjoyed fantastic times but I am excited by the prospect of moving north,” he said.

“Having considered my options at length, I realise that this represents a great opportunity for me to challenge for a position at Ulster and hopefully become a more regular feature in the national set-up.”

Murphy, 26, recently returned to action after 10 months out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury and earned his 18th Ireland cap against Fiji last month.

The flanker’s former Leinster team-mate, prop Marty Moore, has already confirmed that he will join Ulster from Wasps.

Ulster have used five academy forwards this season and had identified the pack as an area to strengthen.

Current Ulster head coach Jono Gibbes coached Murphy for three seasons at Leinster, while the flanker also worked with Ulster’s director of rugby Les Kiss when he was Ireland’s defensive coach.

Kiss said that Murphy “has been on our radar for the past 12 months”.

“It took a lot of hard work between his agent and Bryn [Cunningham] to get this completed. Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of interest in Jordi and we are really pleased that he has chosen to ply his trade here in Belfast,” added Kiss.

“With Marty [Moore] also on board, plus the return to fitness of Marcell Coetzee, we have added some much-needed depth to our pack for next season.”

Murphy has represented Ireland at Under-18, Under-19, Under-20 and senior level – his debut coming in the Six Nations against England in 2014.

He scored the opening try in Ireland’s landmark victory over New Zealand in Chicago in November 2016 but suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Murphy missed the initial 28-man call-up for November internationals, but was called in after injuries ruled out Dan Leavy and Tommy O’Donnell.

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