Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss will return to his role as director of rugby with Ulster after the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Meanwhile, Neil Doak has been confirmed as the province’s new head coach.
After the abrupt departure of David Humphreys, followed by Ulster Rugby’s decision to release Mark Anscombe, the IRFU provided Les Kiss in the role of interim director of rugby for the province.
Les will leave Ulster next week to take up his full-time coaching duties with the Ireland squad as they prepare for the GUINNESS Series, Six Nations and the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
At the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup next year, Les will return to Ulster in a full-time role as director of rugby.
The IRFU believes that the experience and expertise provided by Les Kiss post-RWC 2015 will aid the coaching group at Ulster and will also help to develop players.
Les Kiss said: “I am very appreciative of the continued faith the IRFU and Ulster Rugby have demonstrated in me and while I’m delighted to get the security in the long term, I am very much focused – first and foremost – on the next 12 months.
“It’s exciting that the Springboks arrive here in just over three weeks and that the GUINNESS Series is almost upon us.
“The national coaching team have remained in close contact and Joe (Schmidt) has been particularly supportive of my dual roles over the last few months, which has made things a lot easier for me.”
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is enthusiastic about his coaching colleague’s future post, but is staying short term focused.
“Les is tremendous value and his integrity, coaching ability and positivity will add definite value to Ulster in the long term,” said Schmidt.
“But, like the rest of the national coaching team, we are both very much focused on the upcoming GUINNESS Series. Beyond that, there are plenty of challenges leading up to the Six Nations and RWC 2015.”
Ulster CEO Shane Logan expressed his appreciation for the support offered by the IRFU and also confirmed the appointment of a head coach. “We are pleased to have completed negotiations with Neil Doak, as head coach, and are close to finalising our other coaching requirements,” he said.
“We will announce a team manager in due course to bridge the gap prior to Les taking up his role, allowing him to be fully committed to his coaching duties with the national squad.”
Finally, IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora reiterated the IRFU’s commitment to supporting the provinces in saying that, ‘Les and Neil are an ideal fit for Ulster’.
“Les did a great job guiding them through a disruptive period and will head back there post RWC 2015,” he said.