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Monday 20 November 2017

Les given Kiss of life by Ulster

Ulster's Head Coach Les Kiss will take over as Ulster's director of rugby from 2015 (Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE)
Ulster's Head Coach Les Kiss will take over as Ulster's director of rugby from 2015 (Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE)

Interim Director of Rugby Les Kiss will leave Ulster next week and return to the role at the end of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

"I am very appreciative of the continued faith the IRFU and Ulster Rugby have demonstrated in me.

"While I'm delighted to get the security in the long term, I am very much focused first and foremost on the next 12 months," he said.

"It's exciting that the Springboks arrive here in just over three weeks and that the Guinness Series is almost upon us.

"The National coaching team have remained in close contact and Joe has been particularly supportive of my dual roles over the last few months".

The national defence coach has often spoken of his long-term professional ambition to embrace the responsibility of the leading role. He won't have to wait much longer.

"Les is tremendous value and his integrity, coaching ability and positivity will add definite value to Ulster in the long term," said Schmidt.

"But, like the rest of the National coaching team, we are both very much focused on the upcoming Guinness Series. Beyond that there are plenty of challenges leading up to Six Nations and RWC 2015".

Ulster Chief Executive Shane Logan also confirmed Neil Doak as the new head coach.

Meanwhile, Leinster should be able to welcome back Jack McGrath and Zane Kirchner from injury away to Zebre in the PRO12 League on Saturday.

Full-back Rob Kearney has suffered no ill-effects from a tight back and Mike Ross will have to prove his fitness to make the flight to Italy, although Martin Moore will be available to lock down the scrum.

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