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New coach Truscott sets sights on Malone fightback

By Michael Sadlier

Malone have appointed Australian Jarrett Truscott as their new head coach as the club seeks to rebuild following last season's relegation from AIL Division 1B.

The Bangor-based coach takes over after Jacques Benade's unexpected departure to Dubai and certainly has a formidable-looking task ahead of him in the wake of a number of player departures also having hit the Belfast club in the off-season.

But the 37-year-old may have some notable assistance as the Sydney native may be able to call upon new Ulster assistant coach Joe Barakat's knowledge as the Aussie pair worked together during Truscott's playing days.

The club is also hopeful of bringing Ulster and Ireland duo Chris Henry and Robbie Diack on board to add their experience to the new off-field structure and bring their insight to the squad's preparation.

Truscott is currently coaching the Ulster Women's team and was previously a development officer at Ulster where he oversaw the province's U19's squad while he also worked as an assistant coach at Instonians during Clem Boyd's tenure in charge.

The Australian was introduced to the club earlier this week as part of a restructured coaching ticket which includes Paddy Armstrong, who was previously in charge at Queen's University.

"It is not a case of Malone wanting to go straight back up (to Division 1B) and it is not a case of the club just wanting a head coach temporarily, this has been done with all the good intentions of trying to build a team and a squad and Malone as a whole," said Truscott.

"I liked the squad and the longer term aspect of it," he added of what is believed to be a three to five-year programme.

"I see Malone as a good opportunity and when relegation is involved it is a time to consolidate, it's a chance to get the squad together and really stabilise everything and there will be a lot of expectation on me to make sure that is done. It is a good young squad with a lot of potential."

Nigel Owens says there will be "nobody happier than me" if Wales contest the 2015 World Cup final - and therefore dash his own hopes of refereeing rugby union's biggest fixture.

Welsh official Owens said: "I am quite aware that people might be saying I am going to do the final if Wales don't get there, but that is far from the case.

"I have to referee well over the next couple of months, in the (World Cup) warm-up games and in the World Cup because there are maybe two, three or four referees who are capable of doing the same, or an even better, job and having the final."

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