Ulster have today confirmed that Dan McFarland will take the reins as the province’s head coach next season on a three-year contract, replacing the departing Jono Gibbes.
A highly-rated coach, Dan McFarland is currently working with the Scottish national team as assistant coach to Gregor Townsend. He made a seamless transition from playing to coaching at Connacht in 2006, taking up the forwards coach role before becoming their assistant coach in 2010.
During his time with Connacht, the Oxfordshire-born 46-year-old also held the head coach positions with Emerging Ireland and the Ireland Wolfhounds.
McFarland took over as assistant coach at Glasgow Warriors in 2015 and he worked alongside Townsend before the pair took up posts with the national side in May 2017.
Speaking about his move to Belfast, Dan said: “I am really excited that I will be taking on the Ulster head coach role. I know firsthand from my years visiting with Connacht and Glasgow the passion and fervour that makes playing in front of Ulster fans so special. It’s a province with a great history and I welcome the challenge of being a part of their future.”
Commenting on the appointment, Ulster’s operations director Bryn Cunningham said: “Dan was our number one candidate so we’re obviously very happy to have secured his services for the next three years. Dan’s CV is hugely impressive and he commands great respect within the game.
“He enjoyed successful spells with Connacht and Glasgow, and the fact that Gregor brought him into the Scottish national set-up speaks volumes for how highly he rates him. Our priority in this process was to identify and recruit the best possible candidate first and foremost. With the confirmation of Dan’s appointment, we will be announcing at least one further addition to the coaching team in the near future to ensure that we have a strong unit in place in advance of pre-season.”
Ulster Chief Executive Shane Logan added: “I’d like to congratulate Bryn and our Professional Game Board for conducting such a thorough process that has led to this appointment. We have worked closely with the IRFU and are very pleased with the outcome.”