Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

David Humphreys: Gloucester chief delighted over landing his man

Reunion: John Afoa and David Humphreys will link up again
Reunion: John Afoa and David Humphreys will link up again

David Humphreys will take up his new role at Kingsholm as soon as Ulster and Gloucester have agreed a mutually acceptable date.

That is not expected to take long, for with all of the Ulster signings and contract extensions for which Humphreys was responsible already sorted out and the province's players either on tour or on holiday, there remains little to be done. For that reason it is believed a few short sign-off meetings will see the end his Ravenhill tenure.

In a clearly pre-arranged and choreographed series of events, Ulster went public at 5pm on Saturday with Chief Executive Officer Shane Logan announcing Humphreys' departure to join the Cherry and Whites.

Logan's Gloucester counterpart Stephen Vaughan – who led a worldwide search for a successor to sacked Welshman Nigel Davies – followed promptly, announcing via the Aviva Premiership website that he was "delighted" to have recruited Humphreys.

Vaughan said: "We're very pleased to have got our man. It's been a thorough search; we wanted a quick turnaround but finding the right person was so much more important.

"He's a very engaging character, a trained lawyer, Oxford educated and knows what it takes to achieve success.

"He has done a fantastic job at Ulster. He has turned things around and put in a lot of hard work to make Ravenhill what it is today. They are regulars in the knock-out stages of Europe and reached the final in 2012.

"He's a strategic thinker, he sees the big picture and his recruitment and retention is second to none – bringing in the likes of John Afoa (now at Gloucester), Johann Muller and Ruan Pienaar was previously unheard of for Ulster.

"He is also very astute commercially and is a leader. Knowing his character and the personnel at the club he is exactly the leader we were looking for; he ticks all the boxes.

"David is coming in as director of rugby and will be responsible for everything on the rugby side of the business; he will be heading up the playing department, the academy, strength and conditioning and medical staff, the environment and culture.

"He will look at the whole department and if he wants to appoint a head coach so be it, it has worked very well for him at Ulster."

Confirming that he and Humphreys have discussed potential candidates for the head coach position, Vaughan said: "We've already had those conversations. He's comfortable with that kind of structure and we have to play to David's strengths."

While Gloucester have not disclosed the length of Humphreys' contract, it is understood to be a long-term appointment to ensure stability at the club.

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