Tommy Bowe: Ulster in good shape despite departures

Franco van der Merwe, Louis Ludik and Tommy Bowe of Ulster
New signings Franco van der Merwe and Louis Ludik with Ulster team-mate Tommy Bowe

Ulster winger Tommy Bowe insists the province are in excellent shape for the new season despite losing two key members of the management team.

Director of Rugby David Humphreys moved to Gloucester in June and three weeks later Ulster dispensed with the services of head coach Mark Anscombe.

Ireland assistant Les Kiss has taken over as interim Director of Rugby.

Ulster winger Tommy Bowe looks ahead to the new season - unperturbed by the departures of Director of Rugby David Humphreys and Head Coach Mark Anscombe.

"When I heard Les was coming on board I was very excited. he adds an impetus to the team," said Bowe.

"To have a coach of the quality of Les coming in is only going to strengthen the team.

"The majority of the coaches are still here and the majority of the players are still here.

"From the outside it may look like there is a bit of toing and froing going on and people are not too sure what is going on.

"But, from a player's point of view, we are very excited and looking forward to just getting the season started."

Two of Ulster's big close season signings - second row Franco van der Merwe and full-back Louis Ludik - made their first appearances in Ulster shirts on Wednesday night when the club's new playing kit was unveiled.

Van der Merwe, who played for the Lions team in the Super Rugby competition, is regarded as a direct replacement for fellow South African Johann Muller who retired at the end of last season.

Former Sharks player Ludik, 27, should be the first choice at 15 with Jared Payne now being deployed as outside centre.