ULSTER HAVE ANNOUNCED that Jono Gibbes will become their new head coach ahead of the 2017/18 season.
The former New Zealand player, who is currently forwards coach at ASM Clermont Auvergne, has agreed a two-year contract with the province.
Gibbes previously worked in a similar role to his position at Clermont with Leinster, helping the team win three Heineken Cup titles during a six-year spell there.
The 40-year-old also guided Clermont to the Top 14 and Champions Cup finals in his debut season after joining the French side in 2014.
In reaction to the news, Gibbes said: “The respect that I have for Les (Kiss), as a coach and as a person, was one of my main reasons for making this decision. He really sold his vision of where he wants to take Ulster over the next few years.
“With 6 years at Leinster and 3 years at Clermont in the Top 14, I’ve been afforded many different experiences, working with some very talented coaches and players. I hope to apply what I’ve learned to the role at Ulster and my family and I are looking forward to integrating into a strong community in Belfast.”
Meanwhile, the province’s Director of Rugby Les Kiss added: “Jono’s CV speaks for itself and I know that he’s looking forward to joining Ulster and working with the team. Jono has vast experience on both the playing and coaching fronts, having worked in many different environments such as Super Rugby, PRO12, the French Top 14 and European competitions.
“Jono’s expertise as a Forwards Coach is obvious, however his wealth of knowledge in other areas of the game will be really important for us.”
“A review of the coaching structure is ongoing ahead of next season and the appointment of Jono as Head Coach is the first part of that process. A further announcement will be made in the coming weeks, which will focus on getting the right balance in our coaching team.”
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