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Clarke proud to have served Ulster as he looks to future

By Robert Jones

Ulster assistant coach Allen Clarke has been appointed as the Ospreys' new forwards coach. Clarke, 49, won eight Test caps between 1995 and 1998, while he also played for Northampton and Ulster.

"It has been a great privilege for me to represent Ulster both as a player and as part of the coaching team," he said.

"When I was given the opportunity to move back here in 1998 and represent my home province, it was an easy decision for me. As a proud Ulsterman, to share in some of the club's greatest days has been a great honour.

"The Ospreys are a club that I am very familiar with and I have been very impressed with the standards they set and the ambition they have, so I am really excited about the next chapter in my career and the challenges it will bring.

"In the meantime, we still have plenty of work to do at Ulster so I am looking forward to, and fully focused on, the remainder of the season as we strive towards securing a spot in the PRO12 play-offs."

Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss added: "Allen has made a great contribution to Ulster Rugby over the past 20 years.

"His attention to detail, work ethic and his intricate knowledge of forward play has brought significant value to our programme here.

"Away from the senior team, his work in establishing the Ulster Rugby Academy has been invaluable and I'm sure we will see the rewards from that for years to come."

Meanwhile, Leicester have announced the Welford Road return of Australian Matt O'Connor as their head coach.

O'Connor, 46, worked at Leicester between 2008 and 2013, when the Tigers won three Premiership titles.

After leaving Leicester, O'Connor became head coach with Leinster, a spell that included league title success and a European Champions Cup semi-final appearance.

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