Former Waratahs defence coach Joe Barakat is to join Ulster Rugby as assistant coach on a two-year contract from this summer.
Joe Barakat spent five years with the New South Wales franchise where he also worked as Academy head coach and also head coach of the Junior Waratahs.
A former Head of PE at St. Patrick’s College, Strathfield, he coached Australia Under-21s and has been employed as a technical consultant to the Fijian Rugby Union.
For the past five seasons the vastly-experienced Barakat has worked in Japan, first as forwards and defence coach at NTT Communications Shining Arcs, before joining Toshiba Brave Lupus as forwards, attack and defence coach.
Speaking about his reasons for joining Ulster Rugby, Barakat praised the quality of the squad and the passion of the fans at Kingspan Stadium.
“This is a great opportunity for me to join a top European organisation and I am really excited to have the chance to work with and help improve such a strong panel of players at Ulster,” he said.
“Ulster’s reputation as a province is renowned throughout the world of rugby, as is the passion of the supporters. Along with Neil Doak, Allen Clarke and the rest of the management team, I am committed to helping to deliver on our ambitions for success in the GUINNESS PRO12 and Europe.”
The announcement that Barakat will be joining Ulster Rugby comes as it was confirmed that the province’s current defence coach Jonny Bell will be leaving at the end of the season to join English Premiership club Gloucester.
Bell has been part of Ulster Rugby for more than 20 years. He made 81 appearances for the province as a player and worked in the Academy before coaching the senior squad.
Ulster team manager Bryn Cunningham commented: “Jonny has been a tremendous servant for Ulster Rugby as both a player and a coach. We wish him every success in his new role and we know that in his remaining months with the province that he will be working hard to help the team be as competitive as possible in the PRO12.
“When Jonny told us in October that he would be leaving to explore his options and expand his coaching experience, we set out to recruit a coach that would both complement the expertise that we already have, as well as providing a fresh insight and perspective into the game.
“We are therefore hugely excited that Joe is joining Ulster and we know that his experience of club, provincial and international rugby will be invaluable to us throughout our rugby programme in our quest to be a top side in both Europe and the PRO12 in the coming seasons.”