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Former Ulster head coach Jono Gibbes joins La Rochelle

By Adam McKendry

Former Ulster Rugby head coach Jono Gibbes has agreed to join Top 14 side La Rochelle as sporting director on a four-year deal.

The New Zealander will take over at the Stade Marcel-Deflandre in November after he returns home for a brief stint with provincial side Waikato.

The announcement brings to an end a rather unsavoury saga that saw Gibbes travel to La Rochelle for talks with club chiefs mere days before a crucial European play-off against the Ospreys.

He spent one year at Kingspan Stadium where he initially worked below Director of Rugby Les Kiss, but was then required to take charge when Kiss was sacked in January.

It was announced he would be leaving due to 'family reasons', but the 41-year old will now be returning to Europe a lot sooner than expected.

Gibbes has also had spells with Leinster and Clermont Auvergne as forwards coach and is renowned as one of the top operators in the rugby world.

There is no chance for a reunion between Ulster and La Rochelle next season, however, as the two sides will play in different European competitions.

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