Ulster Rugby have appointed Les Kiss as interim Director of Rugby after Head Coach, Mark Anscombe, left the Province on Monday. It comes in the wake of Director of Rugby David Humphreys’ departure for Gloucester on June 7th.
“I would like to pay tribute to the contribution that Mark Anscombe made over the past two seasons and to thank him for his hard work and dedication,” said Ulster Chief Executive Shane Logan.
“Everyone at Ulster Rugby wishes him well for the future. Les Kiss will have an expanded remit for the Province’s Director of Rugby and will lead the coaching staff, assisted by Jonny Bell and Neil Doak and will manage 1st team selection. His appointment allows us time to recruit for long-term success.”
Ulster have seen key departures already this summer with Johann Muller and Stephen Ferris retiring and John Afoa leaving for the English Premiership. Anscombe had signed a one-year extension earlier this year, but in it’s statement, Ulster Rugby stated that the appointment of Kiss will “allow time for a review of the coaching structures at Ulster Rugby”.
That would indicate the trophyless reign of Anscombe at the renamed Kingspan Stadium was not satisfactory and the question now becomes who can fill the void and bring the wanted reputation to Ulster. With Ulster looking to combine the roles of both Anscombe and Humphreys, it will be interesting to see what route the Province look to go down.
Prior to Munster’s appointment of Anthony Foley as Head Coach, southern hemisphere coaches held all four Head Coaching positions in the Irish provinces. A number of Super Rugby coaches may be interested in the position as will Kiss himself as he looks to get on the Head Coaching ladder.