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Ulster call in Ireland coach

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PRO 14    

Struggling Ulster forced to call in Ireland coach

Ulster have announced that Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby will be drafted in to help prepare the club for the new season.

New head coach Dan McFarland is not due to take over at the Kingspan Stadium until January due to his commitments with the Scottish national team, where he works as an Assistant Coach to Gregor Townsend.

It appeared that his departure to Ulster might have been brought forward following Danny Wilson’s appointment to the Scottish set-up.

Wilson had been due to take over as Wasps forwards coach this season, before a u-turn earlier last month.

Meanwhile at Ulster Andy Farrell had been hotly tipped to be brought in as a stop-gap measure, but instead Ulster have turned to Easterby.

Easterby has previously been a head coach at the Scarlets, spending two years in the role, only to quit in 2014 to take up his current forwards coach job within Joe Schmidt’s Ireland team.

A brief statement on the Ulster Rugby website said “Ireland coach Simon Easterby will provide coaching support at Ulster in the interim period before the arrival of new Head Coach, Dan McFarland. Simon will commence work with the Ulster coaching staff this week.”

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Englishman McFarland has signed a three-year deal with Ulster.

He made a seamless transition from playing to coaching at Connacht in 2006, taking up the Forwards Coach role before becoming their Assistant Coach in 2010.

During his time with Connacht he also held Head Coach positions with Emerging Ireland and the Ireland Wolfhounds.

McFarland took over as Assistant Coach at Glasgow Warriors in 2015 and he worked alongside Townsend before the pair took up posts with the national side in May 2017.

Speaking at the time of his appointment to Ulster McFarland said

“I am really excited that I will be taking on the Ulster Head Coach role. I know first-hand from my years visiting with Connacht and Glasgow the passion and fervour that makes playing in front of Ulster fans so special.

“It’s a club with a great history and I welcome the challenge of being a part of their future.”

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Struggling Ulster forced to call in Ireland coach