Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll has spoken of his surprise at Ulster Rugby moving head coach Brian McLaughlin into a role with the Academy at the end of the season.
Given that McLaughlin has been offered a permanent role as a senior coach at the Academy; it is thought that the soon to be former Ulster boss would be most unlikely to leave the northern province.
The announcement that McLaughlin would move to an Academy role was made in February, with the man himself stating that he was “disappointed” with the decision, though he backtracked the next day from those public utterances.
Ulster director of rugby David Humphreys said at the time that the move had been in the pipeline since before Christmas. Should Ulster win the league and Heineken Cup double – one would presume that Humphreys and the Ulster Rugby hierarchy would regret their mid-season move.
“I’ve always been a big fan of his,” said Brian O’Driscoll, who was coached by McLaughlin at U-21 level and won Triple Crowns when he was national skills coach.
“Brian’s a great manager and he’s obviously done a great job. I was a little surprised that they decided to move him sideways,” – continued Ireland’s record try scorer. There are many who would argue that McLaughlin has in fact not been moved sideways but down.
Ulster play their last home match under McLaughlin against O’Driscoll’s Leinster on Friday night before facing Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup semi-final at Aviva Stadium the following Saturday.