Head-coach Johnno Gibbes takes over at Kingspan Stadium with immediate effect.

Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss has left the post with immediate effect with the province saying the decision was made by mutual consent. 

During his three years in Belfast, Ulster have never progressed beyond the pool stage of the Champions Cup. They exited this season's competition after a 26-7 loss as Wasps earlier this month.

Ulster are currently third in Conference B of the Guinness PRO-14, 11-points behind second-place Leinster and a further two adrift of leaders Scarlets. 

Head-coach Jono Gibbes will assume responsibility for all coaching matters, with a review to be conducted to see if further coaching experience is required.

The province confirmed the news in a statement this evening.

“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.

“Operations Director, Bryn Cunningham, will manage the off-field operations of the professional team.”


INPHO/Billy Stickland


Kiss had previously worked with IRFU for seven-years after initially joining as Declan Kidney's defence coach in 2008, during the period Ireland won three Six Nations titles and the Grand Slam in 2009.

The IRFU's performance director Dave Nucifora has thanked Kiss for his contribution to Irish rugby.

"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."