Ben Brady/INPHO Ulster head coach Dan McFarland.
Dan the Man
'I love my job' says Ulster's McFarland amid links to Leicester job
Meanwhile, Iain Henderson was injured just days before Ireland’s Six Nations squad is named.

ULSTER BOSS DAN McFarland says he loves his job amid links to Premiership club Leicester.

The English side are without a permanent head coach at present following the departure of Steve Borthwick to take over as England boss. Richard Wigglesworth is acting as the Tigers’ interim head coach and could be given a longer-term contract, but the reigning Premiership champions are assessing their options ahead of next season.

It’s understood that Leicester have an interest in McFarland, who has been in charge of Ulster since 2018, and that he may even be on their shortlist for the head coach role.

However, McFarland is contracted to Ulster until 2025, with that deal having been confirmed last summer. It’s unclear whether the same six-month clause that allowed Johann van Graan to get out of his Munster deal early and that saw Pat Lam leaving Connacht also applies to McFarland’s current contract.

On Saturday night after his side’s agonising defeat to La Rochelle, McFarland was asked whether he is with Ulster for the long haul given the links to Leicester.

“I read that as well,” said McFarland.

“I signed my contract back in the autumn. I really enjoy my job no matter how difficult, sorry, even given the fact that it’s f*cking difficult. I love my job, so that’s it.”

It remains to be seen if anything concrete comes of Leicester’s rumoured interest in McFarland and whether it would even be possible for him to consider switching clubs given that his contract has another two-and-a-half seasons left to run.

iain-henderson-leaves-the-field-with-an-injury James Crombie / INPHO Iain Henderson was injured against La Rochelle. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Meanwhile, Iain Henderson’s injury for Ulster in their 7-3 loss to La Rochelle was cause for concern for Ireland boss Andy Farrell a few days before he names his Six Nations squad.

Farrell is due to announce his squad on Thursday morning, with Ireland’s opener against Wales now just three weekends away.

Henderson was forced off for a Head Injury Assessment in the 61st minute of Ulster’s defeat and didn’t return to play. Post-match, McFarland said he had no official update on Henderson’s head injury.

The Ulster captain also suffered a head injury last month against Leinster and subsequently missed the Champions Cup defeat away to Sale. Ulster are expected to provide an update on Henderson’s injury early this week. 

Henderson has been unfortunate on the international front in recent times, suffering a knee injury on last summer’s tour of New Zealand before Ireland had even played a game, then missing out on the autumn campaign as he continued to regain fitness. 

Ulster centre Luke Marshall was also forced off injured against La Rochelle but McFarland didn’t have an update on his condition following the game.

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