Ul­ster can­not re­veal name of their next coach

Province con­firm they have se­cured the ser­vices of a new head of coach­ing

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Rugby - JOHNNY WATTERSON

As a group, we’re ob­vi­ously happy that that’s been put to bed be­cause it was a big thing for us

Ul­ster have said they can­not re­veal the name of their next coach for another few weeks.

In an un­usual move on Satur­day min­utes after their match against Mun­ster, Ul­ster an­nounced they had se­cured the ser­vices of a new coach, who had been en­dorsed by the IRFU.

The timely an­nounce­ment was the most pos­i­tive news story Ul­ster have had after a tor­rid few months.

Oper­a­tions di­rec­tor Bryn Cun­ning­ham said the province had got­ten their pre­ferred can­di­date but his name will not be re­leased for a num­ber of weeks.

“I think when­ever you go into the mar­ket you are look­ing at two things. You are not just look­ing at coaches who are avail­able and on the mar­ket. You are look­ing at coaches who are maybe in con­tract and have an out clause and are ready to move on,” he ex­plained.

Num­ber one can­di­date

“We have the coach lined up, signed and agreed, our num­ber one can­di­date, so we’re ob­vi­ously very happy within Ul­ster and the IRFU,” said the for­mer Ul­ster full­back. “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.”

A num­ber of names have been men­tioned for the job, but Ul­ster say that their new head of coach­ing is not some­one who has al­ready been linked with the va­cancy.

Among the names that have been al­ready men­tioned are for­mer Northamp­ton di­rec­tor of rugby Jim Mallinder, Andy Friend, Aus­tralia Sevens coach, and Glenn Moore, New Zealand women’s coach.

Cun­ning­ham was asked what the rea­son was for the de­lay in nam­ing the new man in charge but would not be drawn.

“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,” he said.

Dis­re­spect­ful

“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.”

Cun­ning­ham would also not be drawn on whether the coach was Ir­ish or not.

And he was re­luc­tant to ex­pand on the se­ri­ous­ness of the in­jury to Iain Hen­der­son dur­ing the Mun­ster match. The Ir­ish lock left the match in the first half with an in­jured left knee.

The in­jury comes as Ul­ster face a pos­si­ble play-off with Ospreys for a Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons Cup place next sea­son, while Ire­land are due to tour Aus­tralia in June.

“He’ll take a day or two to let the swelling go down,” said Cun­ning­ham.

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