Neil Doak confirmed as Ulster head coach

Les Kiss to focus on Ireland duties but return as director of rugby after World Cup

Neil Doak has been confirmed as the new head coach to Ulster Rugby by the IRFU.

Assistant Ireland coach Les Kiss will step down as interim director of rugby next week to focus on the autumn internationals, next year's Six Nations and the 2015 World Cup with Ireland before returning to the role on a permanent basis.

Kiss was appointed temporarily after the departure of former director of rugby David Humphreys and the release of head coach mark Anscombe.

Doak (42) is a Lisburn-born former Ulster scrumhalf who played 76 games for the province before retiring in April 2005. He also represented Ireland 32 times at cricket as a right-handed middle order batsman and offspin bowler.


Doak has been coaching since his retirement, working with the Ulster under-19s and 20s as assistant coach, and he was also backs' coach on Ireland's North American tour of 2013 alongside Kiss and Anthony Foley.

"We are pleased to have completed negotiations with Neil Doak . . . and are close to finalising our other coaching requirements," Ulster ceo Shane Logan said today. "We will announce a team manager in due course to bridge the gap prior to Les taking up his role, allowing him to be fully committed to his coaching duties with the national team."

Kiss added: "I am very appreciative of the continued faith the IRFU and Ulster Rugby have demonstrated in me and, while I’m delighted to get the security in the long term, I am very much focused first and foremost on the next 12 months

“It’s exciting that the Springboks arrive here in just over three weeks and that the Guinness Series is almost upon us. The National coaching team have remained in close contact and Joe (Schmidt) has been particularly supportive of my dual roles over the last few months, which has made things a lot easier for me”.

Ireland head coach Schmidt said Kiss “is tremendous value and his integrity, coaching ability and positivity will add definite value to Ulster in the long term."

He added: “But, like the rest of the national coaching team, we are both very much focused on the upcoming Guinness Series. Beyond that there are plenty of challenges leading up to Six Nations and RWC 2015.”