Ulster Rugby: Euro failure final straw in Les Kiss reign

Ulster Rugby parted company with coach Les Kiss yesterday
Ulster Rugby parted company with coach Les Kiss yesterday

Ulster Rugby are unlikely to appoint a new director of rugby following yesterday’s departure of Les Kiss.

The Australian left by mutual consent after much speculation in recent months about his future with the organisation following a number of disappointing results.

Failure to reach the last eight in the European Champions Cup for a third season in Kiss’s tenure appears to have been the straw which broke the camel’s back.

Kiss’s contract was due to run until the end of the 2019 season, but he has now left on amicable terms with immediate effect from yesterday.

Ulster Rugby are understood to be carrying out a review of their management set-up and its structures within the organisation.

Ulster already have an operational director in place - Bryn Cunningham - and he will manage off-field matters as of today.

In terms of the coaching structure, Jono Gibbes, who came in at the start of the current season as head coach will assume responsibility for all coaching matters.

He will also lead the current coaching team of Dwayne Peel, Aaron Dundon and Naill Malone.

However, the departure of Kiss will leave a void in defence coach, which was his speciality.

Ulster Rugby said in a statement yesterday they would review their coaching set-up to see if additional expertise is required.

One name which has already been linked to a role within the coaching set-up is player Jared Payne, who is currently battling with an injury and has not played since June last year.

Although it is hoped Payne will return to playing before the end of the season, if the prognosis was to go the other way, his skill set could provide a coaching opportunity within the club.