herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

Les will Kiss goodbye to Ulster in mid-October

The IRFU may have got more than it bargained for when it pushed the move of Les Kiss to Ulster as Director of Rugby on an interim basis.

The timeline has been set in stone. Ulster have until mid-October to find a long-term head coach before they kiss goodbye to Ireland's defence coach.

Kiss has been penciled in to return to his Ireland duties by then so that he can prepare properly for the November internationals with no intention to return to Ulster, thereafter, as the 2015 World Cup looms largest.

When Chief Executive Shane Logan announced the departure of Mark Anscombe, the IRFU offered the services of Kiss as a temporary solution to a leadership void so that the province could review their coaching structures.

The problem for the IRFU is that they seriously under-estimated how quickly Kiss can form an umbilical bond with players and how valued he is within the national system.

The likes of Rory Best, Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble, Iain Henderson, Luke Marshall, Paddy Jackson and Chris Henry will not like the prospect of a third Director in six months.

Ulster assistant coach Johnny Bell has described Kiss as "a fantastic coach," who has been a mentor of sorts to the former Ireland centre for four years.

"He is hugely respected by the players and he's come in and he's dealing with the here and now and what we need to do to get ready for the forthcoming season," said Bell recently.

Kiss has always made it known the lure of head coach is one that would interest him when the time is right. Is this the wrong time for the right job?

The problem for Ireland is that head coach Joe Schmidt has already had to make alternative arrangements when his forwards coach John Plumtree made the decision to move closer to home in June.

This was not ideal with Ireland 15 months out from the 2015 World Cup. Luckily, within six weeks, Schmidt was able to prise Simon Easterby, the brother to Leinster Team Manager Guy, away from his post as head coach to The Scarlets.

The IRFU would be loathe to have to deal with another disruption to their plans leading into the World Cup with Kiss, perhaps, sacrificing personal ambition for the greater good.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News