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There’s A Real Opportunity To Make A Difference Here – Kiss

There’s A Real Opportunity To Make A Difference Here – Kiss

Les Kiss started work as Ulster’s new director of rugby on Monday and says that he is excited to finally be at Kingspan Stadium on a permanent basis.

Les Kiss was appointed as Ulster director of rugby last year but saw out the remainder of his existing contract with the Ireland squad. As assistant coach, he helped the men in green to reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals last month on the back of retaining their Six Nations crown earlier this year.

The Australian told Ulster Rugby TV: “It has been a long wait, that’s for sure! In all honesty, very excited about being here (at Kingspan Stadium). There’s a real opportunity to make a difference here, and hopefully I can contribute in a way that everyone’s happy with.

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“After speaking to the staff and all the coaches this morning, we’re all excited about what we can possibly do. But that’s only a possibility. There’s some work to be done.

“There are some things that we need to make sure we shift in the right direction to make sure we get the results that we want – not only on a weekly basis, but from a seasonal basis as well.”

Kiss said that he will use his director of rugby role to ‘try and set some direction and leadership here’. He explained: “To get on the ground now with them (the coaches) and hopefully help them really define a few things that we need to get right and do the things necessary to make sure we get them done.”

Ireland’s long-serving defence coach takes up his new position in Belfast with Ulster currently lying fifth in the GUINNESS PRO12 table and two big Champions Cup openers against Oyonnax (away) and Saracens (home) fast approaching.

“Each week is important for us. We’ve got Europe coming up soon, before that we’ve got the Dragons on Sunday. The way the ladder looks at the moment, you can’t afford to be behind the eight ball for too long. It’s straight into it really, right up to the neck!”

Reflecting on his final tournament as part of the Ireland management team, the 50-year-old admitted: “That was my second Rugby World Cup and both of them have been a very special occasion.

“Obviously to go out the way we did wasn’t nice. But I couldn’t fault the boys, they were brilliant. They were really committed to the cause and we came up against a pretty hot Argentinian side (in the quarter-final) unfortunately.

“I’ve had seven-and-a-half years with the national team. It’s been a great experience and something I’ll treasure forever. I’m still involved in the system here, and I’m really rapt to be here with Ulster now.”