Gibbes to coach Ulster, Azema extends Clermont contract

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Jono Gibbes will leave his role as forwards coach of Clermont Auvergne to take charge of Ulster from the start of the 2017-18 season.

Both clubs confirmed the news on Monday, as Clermont also revealed head coach Franck Azema had signed a new contract keeping him with the Top 14 side until June 2020.

Former All Black Gibbes previously worked on the coaching staff at Leinster and will succeed Neil Doak as Ulster's head coach.

Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss said: "Jono's CV speaks for itself and I know that he's looking forward to joining Ulster and working with the team. Jono has vast experience on both the playing and coaching fronts, having worked in many different environments such as Super Rugby, Pro12, the French Top 14 and European competitions.

"Since his retirement from playing, Jono has had an integral role in the coaching teams of two of European rugby's most successful sides. He was a key part of the Leinster set-up that won three Heineken Cups in four years and he has continued to be hugely successful during his time in France.

"A review of the coaching structure is ongoing ahead of next season and the appointment of Jono as head coach is the first part of that process. A further announcement will be made in the coming weeks, which will focus on getting the right balance in our coaching team."

Gibbes, who has signed a two-year contract with Ulster, added: "The respect that I have for Les, as a coach and as a person, was one of my main reasons for making this decision. He really sold his vision of where he wants to take Ulster over the next few years."

Clermont sit second in the Top 14 and Azema said of his new deal: "I am very happy and proud to continue what I started here. This is good proof of confidence on the part of the club."