RUGBY: Ulster defence coach Joe Barakat is moving to Western Force

Joe Barakat

Joe Barakat

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Defence coach Joe Barakat will leave Ulster in December to take up a post with Western Force in his native Australia.

He had developed a solid relationship with the coaching staff and players since his arrival in the summer of 2015.

He was primarily responsible for defensive strategy and the contact zone.

The popular Barakat had come in on a two-year contract, but will be released early. His final working game will be the European Champions Cup match away to Clermont on Sunday, December 18. His final home game will be at Kingspan against the French side a week earlier.

Kiss, who was instrumental in bringing Barakat to Ulster, said: “I have known Joe for a long time and, as expected, he has done a tremendous job for Ulster Rugby since his arrival.

“He has provided coaches and players alike with a fresh insight and perspective into the game, which has really added value to our rugby programme from the Academy and under-age structures up to the senior squad.

“At the outset, Joe and I had an understanding that we would consider any options that became available to him and I can understand how appealing this role is for a number of reasons.

“It is an enhanced position within the coaching structure and allows him to return to Australia after seven years away from his family.”