Jordi Murphy is in the running to make a seasonal debut for Ulster against Cardiff on Friday night.

The Ireland back row hasn't played with the province since May with a foot and knee injury keeping the 30-year-old sidelined.

"Jordi’s been training the last week or two, he’s been integrating back into full training so I imagine he’ll be putting his best foot forward for selection," Ulster skills coach Craig Newby told RTÉ Sport.

"Whether or not that goes his way, tomorrow will tell a bit more but he’s looking keen and I’ve worked a lot with him over the last three or four months with his injury.

"He’s certainly interested in getting involved."

Newby said the club didn’t yet know which players would be released from Irish camp for the United Rugby Championship match in Belfast, with Robert Baloucoune and Nick Timoney two of the squad who didn’t see any action so far in the Guinness Six Nations.

"We’re hopeful of getting some of those guys back from the Ireland camp but that a conversation between Ireland management and Dan [McFarland]," he said.

"We’ll find out more tomorrow. From today we are not 100% clear."

The New Zealander spoke of his pride at seeing full-back Michael Lowry make his debut for his country, scoring two tries against Italy in a match which also featured Ulster players Kieran Treadwell, Rob Herring and James Hume.

"Dan Soper and I went down together to watch him," he said.

"Obviously, a few [Instonians] boys, Mikey and James Hume, I’m immensely proud of how hard those guys have worked to get their opportunity and they all [did] good.

"It was nice to see Kieran and Rob grow and have big impacts in the latter part of the game.

"Extremely proud and I’m sure Mikey and his family, in particular, playing the whole game and scoring a few tries, was pleasing for all the hard work he’s put in."

Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey was pleased for his team-mates who featured but, like almost everyone else, was perplexed at how the game played out with Italy having to play most of the game with 13 players after losing two hookers, one to injury and one to a red card.

Stuart McCloskey

"It was obviously great to see Mikey get his first cap," said McCloskey. "I thought he was class, very unselfish not to take that hat-trick and pass on to James Lowe on the edge.

"It was tough, it was a strange one to watch. That rule needs probably to be looked at. It turned the game into a bit of a farce.

"Italy started all right, Ireland did well to score 50-odd points in the end. It’s tough playing against a team...Italy did pretty well to stay in it but there’s no way you can string any attack together when you have 12 or 13, away from home and you are 40-point underdogs in the first place.

"It took away the spectacle of the game, the red card decision was borderline, I think, at the start anyway. It sort of ruined the game."

Follow all of Ireland's Six Nations games via our live blogs on rte.ie/sport and on the RTÉ News App or listen to live radio coverage on RTÉ Radio 1. Watch live coverage of England v Ireland on Saturday 12 March on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player. Highlights on Against the Head, Mondays, 8pm