Ulster kiss goodbye to director of rugby

Ulster have confirmed director of rugby Les Kiss will leave his post by mutual consent with immediate effect.

The Northern Irish province sit third in their Pro14 conference, but exited the European Champions Cup at the pool stage on January 21 following a 26-7 defeat at Wasps.

Former Ireland assistant coach Kiss, who had assumed the director of rugby role in 2015, also oversaw heavy losses to Connacht and Leinster in recent weeks and will now depart Kingspan.

A club statement confirming his exit added: "Ulster Rugby would like to thank Les for his commitment and wish him well in his future career.

"Head Coach Jono Gibbes will assume responsibility for all coaching matters and will lead the current coaching team of Dwayne Peel, Aaron Dundon and Niall Malone.

"A review will be conducted to ascertain if additional coaching expertise is required."

Ulster's next Pro14 game is at home to Southern Kings on February 9.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) thanked Kiss for his "enormous contribution" to Irish rugby.

IRFU performance director David Nucifora said: "Les has played a huge part in shaping the success of Irish rugby at national and provincial level since he joined the IRFU in 2008.

"It's no secret that we were disappointed to lose Les from the national team set-up in 2015 but we fully understood his decision to pursue the opportunity at Ulster Rugby.

"We wish him, his wife Julie and all his family all the very best for the future."

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