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Kiss to take Ulster DOR role after World Cup, Doak confirmed as head coach

The province have appointed home-grown Doak to replace Mark Anscombe.

Image: Ashley Crowden/INPHO

ULSTER HAVE CONFIRMED Neil Doak as their new head coach, with Les Kiss to join the province as full-time Director of Rugby following the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The province have been without a head coach since Mark Anscombe departed during the summer months, while Kiss has been in an interim role as Director of Rugby in recent months.

The Australian returns to his role as Ireland defence coach under Joe Schmidt from next week, meaning Doak will take charge exclusively in his new position as head coach.

The 42-year-old has been coaching with Ulster since his retirement from playing in 2005, beginning with the province’s underage sides before working his way into an assistant coach role with the senior set-up.

His work on the province’s attack and backline has won him the support of the squad’s players, and his appointment is likely to be extremely popular with the province’s leadership group.

Kiss now moves his focus solely to the national team once again, but has agreed to return to Ulster in a full-time role as Director of Rugby at the conclusion of Ireland’s World Cup campaign next season.

Ulster CEO Shane Logan and his board have extensively reviewed the DOR model in recent months following the shock loss of David Humphreys to Gloucester in June, but have decided to continue with the role from 2015 onwards.

I am very appreciative of the continued faith the IRFU and Ulster Rugby have demonstrated in me and, while I’m delighted to get the security in the long term, I am very much focused first and foremost on the next 12 months,” said Kiss.

“It’s exciting that the Springboks arrive here in just over 3 weeks and that the Guinness Series is almost upon us.  The national coaching team have remained in close contact and Joe has been particularly supportive of my dual roles over the last few months, which has made things a lot easier for me.”

Meanwhile, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt reacted positively to the plans:

“Les is tremendous value and his integrity, coaching ability and positivity will add definite value to Ulster in the long term.

“But, like the rest of the national coaching team, we are both very much focused on the upcoming Guinness Series.  Beyond that there are plenty of challenges leading up to Six Nations and RWC 2015.”

As ever, the IRFU’s performance director David Nucifora was a man of few words, but summed up the appointment simply:  ”Les and Neil are an ideal fit for Ulster. ”

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Murray Kinsella

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