Ulster not charging in to find immediate replacement for Humphreys

David Humphreys
David Humphreys

Chief executive officer, Shane Logan, says Ulster Rugby will not be rushing out to find an immediate replacement for departing director of rugby, David Humphreys.

The club dropped a bombshell on Saturday when they confirmed the Ireland and Ulster legend, who has had a 22-year association with Ulster, would be leaving the club to take up a position with Gloucester.

The 42-year-old retired from playing in 2008 and took up a position of operations director before becoming director of rugby, a post he has held for the last four years.

Humphreys was regarded as the backbone of the Ulster team, and his role included building and retaining a team in the past four years which challenged for top honours in both Europe and the domestic PRO12 League.

The shock news ended what had already been an eventful week at the club.

Ulster confirmed Stephen Ferris would be retiring due to injury on Tuesday and on Thursday Logan announced a landmark 10-year deal worth in the region of £5 million with Kingspan Environmental, which saw the newly redeveloped Ravenhill renamed ‘The Kingspan Stadium’.

Logan admitted at a press conference on Saturday that he was “taken back” at Humphreys’ decision to quit his post at Ulster when the popular figure told him two days earlier.

“I think David has been consistent over the years that he wants his career to advance,” added the Ulster chief executive.

“We’ve had a joint career plan. Part of that has been to advance excellent levels of success and a really good legacy here.

“We wouldn’t stand in David’s way. We’ve always been clear that David wanted to move his career on.

“The surprising part at the end, and possibly the disappointing part, is the speed at which it happened.”

The search now begins to find a successor, with Logan confirming the club would look to recruit.

“The first thing to do is identify the qualities and functions that we want,” said Logan.

“The second thing is to conduct a search and the search will be what is best in the world.

“There is a lot of very good talent emerging in coaching and leadership.

“There is very good talent in one or two players who have retired recently and there is good talent out there in the world so we will take our time and get the right fit and the best person.

“The important thing is to do this right, rather than quickly, because we have a settled situation with a good production line of players of coaches. We’re not in a desperate place or close to it, we’ll take our time to make the right decision.”