'We're all Irish,' cheeky Eddie is told

·2-min read

Ireland's coaching staff have responded firmly to the familiar mind games of England's Australian coach Eddie Jones, who had questioned their "United Nations" selection policy.

Ahead of Saturday's Autumn Nations Cup clash at Twickenham, Ireland's kicking coach Richie Murphy insisted that every player within Ireland's ranks is considered to be Irish.

Jones had remarked on Thursday about the residency rules, referencing Ireland as the "United Nations" on the grounds that eight of their 23-man squad for the Autumn Nations Cup international hail from overseas.

New Zealand-born trio Bundee Aki, James Lowe and Jamison Gibson-Park will start for Ireland in London, alongside South Africa-born duo CJ Stander and Quinn Roux.

Rob Herring, another player from South Africa, former England Under-20 star Billy Burns, born in Bath, and Australia-born Finlay Bealham have been named among the replacements.

The 29-year-old prop Bealham, who was born and grew up in Canberra and played for the Australian Schools 'A' side, qualifies for Ireland through his grandmother from Enniskillen in Northern Ireland.

The selection prompted a typical piece of mischief-making from Jones.

"I heard someone calling them the United Nations, mate, so I had a little chuckle," Jones said.

"Andy Farrell, Mike Catt are just selecting the team they are allowed under the regulations.

"I can understand how Irish people would be upset about Irish-born players missing out. But they are the laws and regulations of international rugby; they are just sticking by the regulations."

Murphy, though, was adamant Ireland's coaching staff have no reason to defend their selection and said the diversity does not cause division within the camp.

"Definitely not. We've a group of a players obviously who are all eligible to play for Ireland," said Murphy.

"We select that squad early on in relation to who we feel is in the best place to play for Ireland over the next number of weeks.

"To tell you the truth, we think of all of our players as being Irish. They've been in the country, they are members of their local communities, and we just get on with it from there.

"When the guys come in and play for Ireland, they are in a situation where they are more than happy to do that and they take on the challenge as if they were anyone else.

"I can't say how they actually feel but from a coaching point of view, they fit into the group really well and they're taking us forward.

"There's no 'us and them', it's Ireland as a squad, including the management."