Monday 23 October 2017

Jonno Gibbes signs two-year deal to become new Ulster head coach from next season

Jono Gibbes is set to join the Ulster backroom team Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Jono Gibbes is set to join the Ulster backroom team Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Former Leinster forwards coach Jono Gibbes will join Ulster next season having agreed a two-year-deal with the province.

The All Black will link up with Les Kiss, who is shaking up his backroom team after two seasons in charge, as head coach, with Neil Doak and Allen Clark on the way out.

Gibbes has spent the last three seasons since leaving Leinster at Clermont Auvergne and a return to Ireland had been touted when he was linked with the vacant job at Connacht.

However, his destination will be the Kingspan Stadium.

Gibbes' arrival is part of a shake-up at the northern province after a disappointing European campaign. Springbok Arno Botha and Connacht scrum-half John Cooney will join Ulster in the summer, with Ruan Pienaar on his way out.

Gibbes said that there were many contributing factors in his move back to Ireland: "The respect that I have for Les (Kiss), as a coach and as a person, was one of my main reasons for making this decision. He really sold his vision of where he wants to take Ulster over the next few years.

"Ulster is a team that I know well, having come up against them on a number of occasions. The Clermont-Ulster games this season gave me an insight into the strengths of the squad and it's exciting to think that I'll be part of that environment from next season.

"With 6 years at Leinster and 3 years at Clermont in the Top 14, I've been afforded many different experiences, working with some very talented coaches and players. I hope to apply what I've learned to the role at Ulster and my family and I are looking forward to integrating into a strong community in Belfast."

Welcoming the news, Director of Rugby Les Kiss, added: "Jono's CV speaks for itself and I know that he's looking forward to joining Ulster and working with the team. Jono has vast experience on both the playing and coaching fronts, having worked in many different environments such as Super Rugby, PRO12, the French Top 14 and European competitions.

"Since his retirement from playing, Jono has had an integral role in the coaching teams of two of European rugby's most successful sides. He was a key part of the Leinster set-up that won three Heineken Cups in four years and he has continued to be hugely successful during his time in France.

"Jono's expertise as a Forwards Coach is obvious, however his wealth of knowledge in other areas of the game will be really important for us."

"A review of the coaching structure is ongoing ahead of next season and the appointment of Jono as Head Coach is the first part of that process. A further announcement will be made in the coming weeks, which will focus on getting the right balance in our coaching team."

Irish Independent

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