Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Ulster assess McLaughlin position

Brian McLaughlin

Ulster have announced that the contract of head coach Brian McLaughlin is "under review".

The Irish province have reacted to reports that McLaughlin will depart at the end of the season by releasing a statement confirming that the future of their backroom staff is being assessed.

The doubt over McLaughlin's position at Ravenhill comes despite his success in leading Ulster into the Heineken Cup quarter-finals for a second successive season.

"In response to media speculation today regarding the Ulster Rugby head coaching position, Ulster Rugby confirms that the current coaching contracts are set to finish at the end of the season and are under review," read the statement.

"There will be no further comment at this time."

McLaughlin has acquitted himself well since taking over at Ravenhill in 2009, but the contents of Ulster's statement will provide little reassurance over his employers' intentions.

Last season the former Ireland skills coach masterminded passage into the Heineken Cup knockout stages - for the first time in 12 years - and the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs.

The stunning 41-7 victory over Leicester in mid-January was further evidence of a team in the ascendancy, yet reports state McLaughlin has been told his contract will not be renewed.

Former Italy and Japan coach John Kirwan has been linked with the position with Ulster directors seeking an injection of fresh blood.