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Player power forces Mark Anscombe to quit Ulster

Published 01/07/2014 | 02:30

Mark Anscombe has quit his post as head coach with Ulster
Mark Anscombe has quit his post as head coach with Ulster

WORLD Cup-winning coaches Jake White and Graham Henry are just two of the big names being eyed up for the Ulster coaching post after another day of turmoil in the province saw Mark Anscombe quit his post.

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Coming just weeks after David Humphreys quit his role as director of rugby to take up a similar role at English side Gloucester, the Irish Independent has learned that player power was a significant reason in Anscombe deciding to quit just months after penning a one-year extension.

Anscombe had hoped to secure a two-year extension but, after another season of near misses in domestic and European action, some senior players are believed to have become disenchanted with the direction the club was going.

The IRFU yesterday announced that Les Kiss, currently Ireland defence coach, would begin work as a temporary director of rugby at the province from July 19.

Neil Doak, the Ulster assistant coach, had been tipped as a possible successor to Anscombe but it is believed the job may have come too soon for the former Ulster player.

To complicate matters for Ireland, Joe Schmidt is already trying to replace forwards coach John Plumtree, who quit his post this summer after just one year.

Confirming Anscombe's departure "with immediate effect", an IRFU statement said: "Les Kiss will take up the position of interim director of rugby to allow time for a review of the coaching structures at Ulster Rugby to take place."

Ulster chief executive Shane Logan added: "I would like to pay tribute to the contribution that Mark Anscombe made over the past two seasons and to thank him for his hard work and dedication. Everyone at Ulster wishes him well for the future."

Irish Independent

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