Thursday 24 August 2017

Les Kiss adds former Leinster hooker Aaron Dundon to Ulster coaching ticket

New Ulster scrum coach Alan Dundon
New Ulster scrum coach Alan Dundon

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss has added former Leinster hooker Aaron Dundon to his coaching team for next season with the New Zealander set to come on board as the province's scrum coach.

Dundon, who made 49 appearances for Leinster in six seasons with the Province, joins Ulster from Grenoble where he spent the last season working as the club's forward coach.

Dundon's appointment marks the third coaching change that Kiss has made over the course of the last season, with the Australian having previously appointed Clermont forwards coach Jono Gibbes as Head Coach, while former Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel will come on board as the club's assistant coach for next season.

Speaking on Dundon's appointment, Kiss said that the 35-year-old had an 'astute analytical brain' and that Ulster will benefit from his experience of working with some of, in his opinion, the best coaches in rugby.

"Aaron is a very good technical coach who relates well to the modern challenges of the scrum," Kiss told the province's official website.

"He will also be a resource for our line out throwers and will assist with our skill development. He has worked under some of the best coaches in the game, such as Greg Feek, Joe Schmidt, Matt O'Connor, Leo Cullen and Bernard Jackman. In particular, the experience he has gained of the set piece in France can only be good for us.

"He has an astute analytical brain and I'm excited to see him working alongside Jono in building on our forwards game, especially with our young front row players such as Kyle McCall and Ross Kane.

"I've spoken to Aaron at length and he's very positive about working with the other coaches to enhance our performances over the next two seasons."

Dundon's decision to leave Grenoble was made easier by the fact that the club had just been relegated from the Top 14 after an abysmal season where the Rhône-Alpes club won just seven of 26 games, just one season after they had qualified for the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup.

The Wellington follows former Leinster teammate Bernard Jackman out of French Rugby and he's hoping that his return to provincial rugby will be a bit more fortunate than his final season in the Top 14.

"I am delighted to be joining the coaching team at Ulster this summer," said Dundon.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for me professionally and it was an easy decision to make. I am particularly looking forward to working with Les, Jono, Dwayne, Niall and the rest of the coaching team, as well as the strong group of players currently in the set up.

"I'm enthusiastic about where we can take the club and am looking forward to getting started in pre-season. I'm very excited to be part of this next chapter with Ulster Rugby."

Dundon previously coached at Clontarf RFC between 2013 and 2016, where under Andy Wood, he helped guide the Dublin club to two All-Ireland League titles in three seasons.

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