Les Kiss with Joe Barakat at Ulster training. Dan Sheridan/INPHO
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Les Kiss to lose loyal lieutenant Barakat as he returns to Australia

Barakat is set to join up with Western Force.

ULSTER ASSISTANT COACH Joe Barakat will leave the province in December it was confirmed today.

The Australian, who joined the Ulster set-up in 2015 on a two-year deal is returning home to take up a role as senior assistant coach with Western Force.

Barakat previously coached the Waratahs in Sydney and had a five-year spell in Japan, while he has also held roles with the Australia U21 side and with the Fijian Rugby Union.

His final game with the province will be the European Champions Cup  trip to ASM Clermont Auvergne on Sunday 18th December.

Commenting on his decision, Barakat said:

“Firstly, I’d like to thank Ulster Rugby, and particularly Les (Kiss), for the opportunity to come here and be involved in such a fantastic organisation. I can’t speak highly enough of the coaching group and the players here at Ulster – there is so much talent and ambition here and that will only lead to positive things in the future.

My wife and I have been lucky enough to call Belfast home for the past 16 months – it’s a brilliant city and we have made some great friends in that time. So I’d like to thank the wonderful supporters and the wider public for their support since my arrival.

“This opportunity with Western Force is a chance for me to take on a senior position at a Super Rugby franchise, while also bringing me back to be closer to my family, having spent a long time away from home.

Director of Rugby, Les Kiss added:

“I have known Joe for a long time and, as expected, he has done a tremendous job for Ulster Rugby since his arrival. He has provided coaches and players alike with a fresh insight and perspective into the game, which has really added value to our rugby programme from the Academy and under-age structures up to the senior squad.

At the outset, Joe and I had an understanding that we would consider any options that became available to him and I can understand how appealing this role is for a number of reasons. It is an enhanced position within the coaching structure and allows him to return to Australia after seven years away from his family.

“We wish him every success in his new role and we know that in his remaining months with us he will be working hard to help the team be as competitive as possible in both the Guinness PRO12 and European Champions Cup.”

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