Helping Ulster out: Simon Easterby comes in to help with coaching
Ulster returned to training this week ahead of a new Guinness PRO14 season without their new head coach.
Dan McFarland still cannot arrive in Belfast to take up his new role until he is released by the Scottish Rugby Union from his current contract.
However, that is not due to expire until January 2019 .
The recent appointed of Danny Wilson to the Scottish coaching staff had risen hopes the SRU would release McFarland from his contract, but it is understood the IRFU are continuing to work with their Scottish counterparts in getting the unsatisfactory situation sorted.
Certainly for Ulster, who have gone through a difficult season, the situation is not helping.
IRFU performance director David Nucifora recently indicated that he was confident that McFarland would take up his position before January.
McFarland signed a three-year contract with the province in April.
Ulster are keen for the Englishman to be in position ahead of the new season, however, the SRU say McFarland will serve out a nine-month notice period.
In the interim Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby is to assist with coaching Ulster until the arrival of McFarland.
Easterby began working with the Ulster coaching team on Monday.
An Ulster Rugby statement said that the former Scarlets forward will “provide coaching support in the interim period” before McFarland’s arrival.
Ulster’s coaching set-up will have a new look by the time the 2018-19 season begins.
Jared Payne is the province’s new defence coach having been forced into retirement while New Zealander Dan Soper will become assistant to McFarland.
They will also appoint a new strength and conditioning coach following the departure of Jonny Davis and there will be also be a new head physiotherapist appointed after Gareth Robinson left at the end of last season.
Ulster will also appoint a new Chief Exceuctive Officer after Shane Logan confirmed last month he would leave at the end of August.