Mark Anscombe parts company with Ulster

Les Kiss to take over on interim basis as Anscombe leaves with immediate effect

Mark Anscombe has left Ulster despite extending his contract as recently as February. Photograph: Inpho

Mark Anscombe has left Ulster despite extending his contract as recently as February. Photograph: Inpho


Ulster have parted ways with their coach, Mark Anscombe, coming less than a month after the Irish province’s director of rugby David Humphreys left to fulfil a similar role at Gloucester. Ireland’s defence coach Less Kiss will take over in the short term, combining his new role with existing duties.

He will work with the current Ulster assistant coaches Neil Doak and Jonathan Bell in presiding over the Ulster set-up for as long as it takes to find a successor.

Anscombe had signed a one year extension in February but following Humphreys’ departure Ulster chief executive Shane Logan, in conjunction with the professional game committee, decided to review the direction the province was going in coaching terms.

The job title for the new man has yet to be defined but it’s likely to incorporate the positions poreviously filled by Anscombe and Humphreys.

A decision was taken that rather than wait for Anscombe’s tenure to run out next summer, that they would actively recruit a top level coach, who ideally would be able to take over next season but at the latest for the start of the 2015-2016 season.

“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,” Logan said in a statement this afternoon.

“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 first team selection. His appointment allows us time to recruit for long-term success.”

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