Neil Doak named Ulster coach with Les Kiss to return after World Cup

Les Kiss
Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss will return to Ulster after next year's World Cup

Neil Doak has been appointed Ulster head coach, while Les Kiss will become the province's director of rugby after next year's World Cup.

The elevation of attack coach Doak, 42, to the head coaching role is not a surprise.

Ireland assistant coach Kiss, 49, has been Ulster's interim director of rugby at Kingspan Stadium in recent months following Mark Anscombe's departure.

Kiss will leave the Ulster interim role next week but will return next October.

The Irish Rugby Football Union made Kiss available to Ulster in July after previous coach Anscombe was sacked a couple of weeks after the surprise departure of previous director of rugby David Humphreys.

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 World Cup squad but remained uncapped
Appointed Ulster backs coach 2009
Part of Ireland coaching team on 2013 North American tour

Kiss will return to his Ireland duties next week which will leave Doak in charge for the remainder of the current campaign and the early months of next season before the Australian returns to the Ulster fold after next year's World Cup in England.

Doak's contract will keep him in the coach's position until at least the summer of 2017.

"I am very appreciative of the continued faith the IRFU and Ulster Rugby have demonstrated in me," Kiss said on Tuesday.

"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."

Ulster chief executive Shane Logan thanked the IRFU for its support in finalising the province's coaching structure.

"We are pleased to have completed negotiations with Neil Doak, as head coach, and are close to finalising our other coaching requirements," Logan said.

"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."

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Rory Best and Neil Doak

On Monday, Ulster captain Rory Best said the widely expected appointment of Doak as head coach would delight the squad.

"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.

"For the last number of years, he has been doing a lot more than just his attack coach role," the 32-year-old added.

"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."

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