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Concern for Ulster as Cheika's Wallabies look to lure Gibbes away

The former All Blacks back row could link up with his old boss in Australia.

ULSTER FACE THE possibility of losing another member of their coaching staff as Michael Cheika looks to lure Jono Gibbes to Australia.

Director of rugby Les Kiss stepped down from his position by mutual consent two weeks ago and Ulster now face the possibility of head coach Gibbes departing to the Wallabies.

Jono Gibbes during the warm up Gibbes arrived in Ulster last summer. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Gibbes has taken control of Ulster since Kiss’ departure but Cheika – his former boss at Leinster – has been looking for a new set-piece coach following the departure of Mario Ledesma back to Argentina.

The42 understands that Gibbes has spoken to Cheika with a view to potentially taking up the position, as has also been reported by other publications including the Sydney Morning Herald.

Gibbes is still in the first year of a two-year deal with Ulster, having joined from Clermont last summer, meaning the process of securing an exit from the Irish province could be problematic.

While it’s not known whether Gibbes has a specific clause relating to international jobs in his contract, it would be difficult for Ulster to stand in his way if he is eager to move into the Test game with Australia.

At present, it is not thought that Gibbes has made an official agreement with the Wallabies, but the interest in him is a worry for Ulster, who will look to convince the Kiwi that their future is a bright one.

The province have endured another disappointing season, failing to advance from their Champions Cup pool once again and also offering up inconsistent form in the Guinness Pro14, leading to Kiss’ exit.

For Ulster fans, the latest news will come as another concern, given how highly-rated Gibbes is.

- This article was updated at 9.33am to correct ‘Leinster’ to ‘All Blacks’ in the excerpt.

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Murray Kinsella

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