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Dan McFarland to step down after almost six seasons in charge of Ulster

Wales , United Kingdom - 18 February 2024; Ulster head coach Dan McFarland before the United Rugby Championship match between Ospreys and Ulster at Swansea.com Stadium in Swansea, Wales. (Photo By Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster coach Dan McFarland is set to step down as Ulster coach after almost six seasons in charge. The news comes after Sunday’s last minute 19-17 defeat to Ospreys.

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Fans criticised the head coach’s post match response, in which he appeared to deflect blame towards the referee.

“Ultimately, the game came down to two instances, both where we were in control, one in their 22 where they got an intercept pass and the second one was at the end of the game where we were in total control and the refereeing decision called a scrum on the back of a maul,” he told Viaplay Sports.

“I have literally no idea what that was about. You see that every week. I’m going to ask and find out because ultimately those two instances decided the game in the Ospreys’ favour.”

According to the Irish Independent, McFarland was set to inform the Ulster squad of his departure on Wednesday morning.

His contract is set to run until 2025 but pressure has been on the coach of late after failing to progress to the Champions Cup playoffs and after a third defeat in five games.

Assistant coach Dan Soper is rumoured to step into the role for the time being.

McFarland has been in charge since 2018 and guided Ulster to the PRO 14 final in 2019/20 and the URC semi-finals in 2021/22.

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They are currently in eighth position on the URC table and host the Dragons next Saturday.

United Rugby Championship

P
W
L
D
PF
PA
PD
BP T
BP-7
BP
Total
1
Leinster
10
8
2
0
39
2
Glasgow
10
7
3
0
36
3
Bulls
10
7
3
0
35
4
Benetton
10
7
2
1
32
5
Edinburgh
10
7
3
0
30
6
Stormers
10
6
4
0
30
7
Ospreys
10
6
4
0
29
8
Ulster
10
6
4
0
29
9
Munster
10
5
4
1
29
10
Connacht
10
6
4
0
28
11
Lions
10
4
6
0
24
12
Cardiff Rugby
10
3
6
1
22
13
Zebre
10
1
8
1
13
14
Scarlets
10
2
8
0
12
15
Gwent Dragons
10
2
8
0
10
16
Sharks
10
1
9
0
10

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