Rory Best: Neil Doak appointment would delight Ulster squad

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Rory Best and Neil Doak

Ulster captain Rory Best says the widely expected appointment of Neil Doak as the team's new head coach would delight the squad.

Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss has been interim Director of Rugby at Ulster since the summer departures of David Humphreys and Mark Anscombe.

However, current attack coach Doak, 42, has been strongly linked with an elevation to the head coach position.

"Doaky has definitely earned a shot at it," Best told BBC Sport.

"If he was announced as head coach, it would be a decision that would be greatly welcomed by the players.

"We know the rumours about Doaky and all we can say from a player's point of view is that he has been around for a long time.

Neil Doak factfile
Born June 1972
Played for Ireland Cricket team on 32 occasions after 1993 debut
Made 76 appearances for Ulster Rugby team before retirement in 2005
Member of Ireland's 2003 Rugby World Cup squad but remained uncapped
Currently attack coach at Ulster

"He has done a fantastic job for Ulster both as a player and a coach. He is very well respected within the players' group."

Best, 32, made his comments at Monday's official launch of the new European Championship Cup in Dublin.

The Ireland hooker said that the players have been told "nothing" about how close Ulster are to unveiling their new coaching structure and who the new man or men will be.

However, Best made no attempt to downplay his positive assessment of Doak's suitability for the vacant head coach role.

"For the last number of years, he has been doing a lot more than just his attack coach role," added the Ulster skipper.

"He has a lot to do with the day-to-day running of everything.

"He's a great guy. He's well-respected - not just as a coach but as a person which for me is equally as important."

Although he was reluctant to comment at length on the continuing speculation linking him with the Ulster post, Doak did reiterate his desire to coach his native province.

"I've been coaching there for a while and as I said earlier in the season, I've aspirations to be the head coach and if that's at Ulster or at other teams, so be it," said Doak.

"Myself and Ulster officials have had a few chats about the way the coaching structures are moving forward but nothing has been finalised."

Interim director of rugby Kiss is scheduled to end his Ulster role later this month to return to his duties with the Ireland national team.

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