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Ulster Management Team Agree Contract Extensions

Ulster Management Team Agree Contract Extensions

Ulster assistant coach Neil Doak, defence coach Jonny Bell and analyst and skills coach Niall Malone have all agreed one-year contract extensions with the province.

With Mark Anscombe agreeing his own new contract extension last month, it means that Ulster will have an unchanged coaching team until at least the summer of 2015.

Ulster won all six of their Heineken Cup pool games for the first time in the province’s history and have won 11 out of 15 games in the RaboDirect PRO12 so far this season.

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Anscombe’s side boast the best defensive record of any side in the Heineken Cup this term and have conceded just 20 tries in 21 matches.

Neil Doak:

“I want to be involved in the success of Ulster Rugby. I have put a lot of work into it and I don’t want to leave with the work undone. We have laid some great foundations.

“We have a good team, a new stadium, excellent training facilities and now it’s about making sure that we take the next step and that we are competing for silverware in competitions from the grassroots right up to the top end of the game – we want to be successful and we want to be one of the top teams in Europe.

“We have a little bit of unfinished business and hopefully over the next few months we will be in the mix for silverware. Moving into next season, we have a few players moving on but we still have a great squad.

“We have decent players coming in and the players that we have already are more than capable of competing in the competitions that we play in – so I am looking forward to that.”

Jonny Bell:

“It is an exciting time at Ravenhill. The stadium is almost completed and there is a real sense of anticipation about, not only about what is to come this season but what will happen in future seasons. It is great to be part of that.

“As a player I was with the senior side for over a decade and following a spell teaching, I came into the coaching system with the Academy. I feel part of the furniture here.

“We have been in some dark places in the past with regards to where the team has been and now we are in a great place. To have been part of that transition and to be part of the success story that is Ulster Rugby is great.

“We have aspirations – this is a great team and a great group of players and we want to go for silverware this year and to make sure that next season we are building on what we have achieved in this campaign.”

Niall Malone:

“It is a hard place to leave at the minute! I am very happy here and it was a very short conversation that I had about staying on. I hope the future is as good as it is at the moment because things are going pretty well at the minute.

“In my role I am able to help plan and deliver coaching sessions so when I give the players the facts and numbers I can also give them the rugby perspective on the analysis.

“We all get on well. There may not be 100% alignment on 100% of things but that is healthy. Alan Solomons once said to me when I started coaching that you should always coach with people you get on with first and worry about the rugby second.

“The rugby is obviously crucial and if you get things wrong it is pretty high stakes, but if it does go wrong you need to communicate together and to work as a team to find solutions.

“Coaching is fluid, people move about, but the fact that we all have so much history together really helps us.”