CONFIRMED: Ulster found Gibbes' replacement

Mon, 30 Apr 2018 14:20
Large ulster rugby.800

TRANSFER NEWS: Ulster have finally found Jono Gibbes' successor, after months of speculations.

Ulster Rugby revealed Scotland assistant coach Dan McFarland will take the reins as Head Coach next season on a three-year contract.

The highly-rated Englishman 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 he also held 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.

Commenting on 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 club with a great history and I welcome the challenge of being a part of their future."

Commenting on the appointment, Bryn Cunningham, Ulster Rugby's Operations Director 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 Scotland 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."

Shane Logan, Ulster's Chief Executive, 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."

Ulster’s hopes of playing in Europe next season also remain firmly alive.

Having finished fourth in Conference B of the PRO14, Ulster now look likely to take on Ospreys in a play-off match for Champions Cup qualification, although it’s still possible that they could qualify automatically.

The most likely scenario at this stage is that Ulster would have to play Ospreys in a play-off match for the 7th PRO14 place in the competition. This would be played at Kingspan Stadium on the weekend of 18-20th May.

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Sat, 26 May 2018
Reds v Highlanders 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Bulls v Brumbies 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 14h00 London
Stormers v Lions 15h15 Newlands
Leinster v Scarlets 17h00 Dublin
Fri, 01 June 2018
Highlanders v Hurricanes 07h35 Dunedin
Sat, 02 June 2018
Blues v Rebels 05h15 Eden Park
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 21 15 1 5 76
Munster 21 13 1 7 69
Cheetahs 21 12 0 9 63
Cardiff Blues 21 11 0 10 54
Ospreys 21 9 0 12 44
Connacht 21 7 0 14 39
Zebre 21 7 0 14 36
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 21 14 1 6 70
Scarlets 21 14 1 6 70
Edinburgh 21 15 0 6 68
Ulster 21 12 2 7 62
Treviso 21 11 0 10 55
Dragons 21 2 2 17 20
Kings 21 1 0 20 11