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Latest major blow has left a host of former aces baffled


Tony McWhirter
Tony McWhirter

By Michael Sadlier

With Ulster's turmoil-riven season hitting yet another new low, with the not entirely unexpected confirmation that Jono Gibbes would now be rapidly following Les Kiss through the Kingspan Stadium departure lounge, it was hardly surprising that some notable names took to social media.

Several former players had their say on what they think is going on at Ulster in this unprecedented campaign of both on and off-pitch struggles, with former flanker Neil Best leading the charge by suggesting that some form of significant clear-out might be the only way forward for the struggling operation.

Fellow ex-flanker Stephen Ferris was also keen to get his opinion across and sounded somewhat perplexed at the latest turn of events to have struck his former team-mates.

Paddy Wallace also weighed in with a comment which reflected the frustration felt by most supporters at yet another coaching departure.

Ferris tweeted: "I think Jono Gibbes has realised how difficult the challenge will be @UlsterRugby to turn things around.

"What the heck is (going) on?

"I read less than a week ago that Gibbes was the man to take this team forward…"

Ferris also decided to put out an article written by Steven Beacom which appeared in the Belfast Telegraph back in February 2015 which was an interview with Ulster Rugby Chief Executive Shane Logan.

"Interesting read for @UlsterRugby fans," Ferris tweeted, referring to the attached article.

"Where has it all gone so wrong?"

Tony McWhirter, another former Ulster back-rower, also reckoned that Ferris might have a crack at the coaching lark, which again brightened the mood on a distinctly downbeat day for rugby in the province.

"Been on the rumour mill for a long time," McWhirter tweeted.

"Maybe a good time for Ulster rugby to reshape from top and bottom. Freefall at this point in time - hard to stop. Maybe time for @StephenFerris6 to don a tracksuit again."

Best took to Twitter and called for radical change at the Kingspan.

"Looks like the mess @UlsterRugby needs a very big broom," he posted before following up with "I'm thinking more of sweeping out the broomsmen."

Paddy Wallace also joined in and tweeted: "And so the search begins… again!"

And indeed it does with the province now having gone through four coaches heading things up in six years since Brian McLaughlin was given the heave in 2012. Gibbes now joins a list made up of Mark Anscombe, Neil Doak - who was in temporary charge - and Kiss with the Australian having left at the end of January.

And the developments here were also spotted outside Ulster with former Scotland scrum-half Andy Nicol wondering what on earth is going on.

"What is happening at your old club boys?? @StephenFerris6 @Tmcwgumshields (Tony McWhirter) seems a bit of mess."

Belfast Telegraph


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