Ulster Rugby have announced that Les Kiss will be leaving his post as Director of Rugby by mutual consent with immediate effect.
A statement has confirmed that Jono Gibbes will lead a coaching panel of Dwayne Peel, Aaron Dundon and Niall Malone while ‘a review will be conducted to ascertain if additional coaching expertise is required.’.
Results have not been great, however it is still surprising that Kiss has left mid-season. Presumably Ulster feel that Les Kiss is not the man to lead Ulster forward and secure the third spot in the conference.
Even with Les Kiss on board, Ulster should have been good enough to secure the position. Regardless if Kiss remained coach or not, playing quarter final knockout rugby is the limit for this rugby team.
As Les Kiss helped mastermind Ireland’s Grand Slam victory in 2009, he developed a reputation as a top defensive coach. This has ultimately let him down as Ulster are on course to concede a record number of tries this season.
Likewise, we were told that Ulster had underwent a transformation in the preseason and that the ‘playbook was ripped up.’ While at first there were signs that Ulster did look sharper and more clinical than last season, performances and then results dipped when Zebre defeated Ulster at the end of September. Ulster have just as many problems in attack as they do in defence.
Jono Gibbes now takes a front seat and will attempt to lift the province after a sorry loss against Wasps which knocked the northern side out of the European Champions Cup when qualification was in Ulster’s hands.
This decision by the Ulster hierarchy makes the run in for the province a lot more interesting. Gibbes’ first game in charge will be next Friday night at home to the Southern Kings.