Monday 28 May 2018

Ulster confirm they have signed number one head coach candidate

21 October 2017; Ulster Director Of Rugby Operations Bryn Cunningham during Ulster Rugby Captain's Run at Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle in France. Photo by John Dickson/Sportsfile
21 October 2017; Ulster Director Of Rugby Operations Bryn Cunningham during Ulster Rugby Captain's Run at Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle in France. Photo by John Dickson/Sportsfile

Ulster have confirmed that they have signed a new head coach, although his name will not be revealed for another few weeks.

The club is adamant that their new boss is not someone who has already been linked with the job.

Amongst those names have been Andy Friend, Australia Sevens coach, Glenn Moore, New Zealand women's coach and Jim Mallinder, ex-Northampton Director of Rugby.

Speaking after Ulster's 24-24 draw at Thomond Park, Bryn Cunningham, Operations Director, said:

"We have the coach lined up, signed and agreed, our number one candidate, so we're obviously very happy within Ulster and the IRFU.

"Unfortunately, we'll not be in a position to announce that for potentially another few weeks. As a group, we're obviously happy that that's been put to bed because it was a big thing for us.

"At this stage of the season with everything going on, it was really important that we got a bit of solidity around what's going on with Ulster next season and for the next few years."

Asked about the delay in confirming their new head coach's identity, Cunningham responded:

"It's just a mutual thing from our point of view and where the coach is coming from. You have to have respect for each other's situation and it'll take a bit of time before both are content to release it formally.

"At this stage, it would be disrespectful of me to go against other people and their wishes but I'm positive we're moving in the right direction."

Ulster's draw was not enough to secure a play-off spot but they will face the Ospreys in a Champions Cup qualifier in three weeks. They are however sweating over the fitness of Iain Henderson who had to be helped off the pitch, with what looked like a serious knee injury.

"It certainly looks like that, but it's very early to tell the extent of it," Cunningham added.

"He'll take a day or two to let the swelling go down and get a proper look at it. Hopefully, it's not too bad because he's been a talismanic figure for us but we'll see what the injury report is at the start of the week."

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