ULSTER WILL BEGIN the search for a new head coach after it was confirmed that Brian McLaughlin would not be in charge of the team after the current campaign.
McLaughlin took over following the resignation of Matt Williams nearly three years ago and was given a one-year extension on his contract after leading Ulster to the Heineken Cup for the first time since 2009 last year.
However, his future at Ravenhill has been in doubt in recent months and reports in the Irish media suggested he was set to be replaced surfaced last week.
They have been proved accurate as Director of Rugby David Humphreys addressed the speculation by revealing that they will be appointing a new coach for next season.
“While we are not yet in a position to confirm who our head coach will be for next season, I can confirm that Brian will remain in a senior coaching position at the club, moving to work with Gary Longwell in our Academy on a permanent basis,” Humphries said on Ulster’s website.
There’s no doubting what Brian has achieved in his tenure as head coach over the past two and a half years and we hope that there is more to come this season as we prepare for the Heineken Cup quarter-final and push for a play-off place in the PRO12.”
McLaughlin, who moves to a senior coaching position at Ulster’s academy, explained that he remains focused on the team’s remaining games, including a Heineken Cup quarter-final meeting with Munster in April.
“While I may not be staying on as Head Coach I know that my coaching future lies with Ulster Rugby,” he said.
“We all know the crucial role our overseas players play in our success, but it is imperative we foster local talent in the and my new role within the Academy will ensure that I continue to play a leading role in the development of both Ulster and Irish Rugby.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my two and a half seasons at the helm and take huge pride in the success we’ve had, however, with a Heineken Cup quarter-final and a push for a PRO12 playoff spot to come I’m very much focused on leading Ulster for the remainder of this season and am totally committed to achieving our goals of progression in both competitions.”