Ulster assistant coach Joe Barakat to leave for Western Force in December
Ulster Rugby assistant coach Joe Barakat will depart the club in December to take up a position with the Western Force, the province has confirmed.
Barakat will return to his native country 18 months into a two-year deal, having arrived in the summer of 2015. His role at the Kingspan was largely concerned with defensive strategy and the contact zone.
He previously coached at 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.
Joe's final game working with Ulster will be the European Champions Cup Round 4 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.
"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.
"Until I leave in December I will be fully committed to the Ulster cause and will do everything in my power to ensure that we are well-placed going into the business end of the season.”
Director of Rugby, Les Kiss, who was instrumental in bringing Barakat to Ulster, 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."