Ulster rocked by Humphreys' switch to Gloucester
Ulster are on the lookout for a new director of rugby after David Humphreys' shock decision to leave the province to take up a new role at Gloucester.
The former Ireland fly-half has played a big role in their resurgence in recent seasons.
Humphreys will take up his new role at Kingsholm as soon as Ulster and Gloucester have agreed a date.
That is not expected to take long – all of the Ulster signings and contract extensions for which Humphreys was responsible have already been sorted out and the province's players either on tour or on holiday, there remains little to be done.
In a clearly pre-arranged and choreographed series of events, Ulster went public at 5.0pm on Saturday with chief executive officer Shane Logan announcing Humphreys' departure.
Logan's Gloucester counterpart Stephen Vaughan – who led a worldwide search for a successor to sacked Welshman Nigel Davies – followed promptly, announcing in a statement: "We're very pleased to have got our man. It has been a thorough search. We wanted a quick turnaround but finding the right person was so much more important.
"He's a very engaging character, a trained lawyer, Oxford-educated and knows what it takes to achieve success. He has done a fantastic job at Ulster. He has turned things around and put in a lot of hard work to make Ravenhill what it is today.
"He's a strategic thinker, he sees the big picture and his recruitment and retention is second to none – bringing in the likes of John Afoa, Johann Muller and Ruan Pienaar was previously unheard of for Ulster.
"He is also very astute commercially and is a leader. He is exactly the leader we were looking for. He ticks all the boxes.
"David will be responsible for everything on the rugby side of the business. He will be heading up the playing department, the academy, strength and conditioning and medical staff, the environment and culture.
"He will look at the whole department and if he wants to appoint a head coach so be it, it has worked very well for him at Ulster."
While Gloucester have not disclosed the length of Humphreys' contract, it is understood to be a long-term appointment.