Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss has announced that Aaron Dundon will join the province’s coaching team as scrum coach and will arrive at Kingspan Stadium this summer.
The appointment confirms the make-up of the Ulster coaching ticket for the next two seasons, following the confirmation of Jono Gibbes as the new head coach and Dwayne Peel as assistant coach. Les Kiss has retained Niall Malone in a video analysis and skills development capacity.
Aaron Dundon moves to Ulster from French side Grenoble where he held the roles of forwards coach and interim joint-head coach. He had a particular focus on the set piece and breakdown.
Dundon played 49 times as a hooker for Leinster, scoring an impressive 10 tries. He won six titles during his time with the province, including two Heineken Cups and two PRO12 crowns.
He was a technical coach (forwards/collision & breakdown) at Clontarf between 2013 and 2016, making a key contribution as the north Dubliners won two Ulster Bank League titles in three seasons.
The 35-year-old New Zealander is looking forward to starting work in Belfast, stating: “I am delighted to be joining the coaching team at Ulster this summer. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me professionally and it was an easy decision to make. I’m particularly looking forward to working with Les, Jono, Dwayne, Niall and the rest of the coaching team, as well as the strong group of players currently in the set-up.
“I’m enthusiastic about where we can take the side and am looking forward to getting started in pre-season. I’m very excited to be part of this next chapter at Ulster Rugby.”
Commenting on the completion of his coaching team, Kiss said: “Aaron is a very good technical coach who relates well to the modern challenges of the scrum. He will also be a resource for our lineout throwers and will assist with our skill development.
“He has worked under some of the best coaches in the game, such as Greg Feek, Joe Schmidt, Matt O’Connor, Leo Cullen and Bernard Jackman. In particular, the experience he has gained of the set piece in France can only be good for us.
“He has an astute analytical brain and I’m excited to see him working alongside Jono in building on our forwards game, especially with our young front row players such as Kyle McCall and Ross Kane. I’ve spoken to Aaron at length and he’s very positive about working with the other coaches to enhance our performances over the next two seasons.
“While the entire squad will not be in place until August because of international and Lions commitments, we have already had some planning sessions to ensure we are fully prepared for our pre-season start date of July 3.”