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Ulster sweat as Wallabies target Gibbes

 

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster are believed to be on high alert over a mooted advance from Australia for their head coach Jono Gibbes.

The former All Black is a little over a quarter of the way through a two-year deal at Kingspan Stadium and was given chief responsibility for on-field matters when Director of Rugby Les Kiss left the province last month.

Only one game into his tenure heading up the side's coaching ticket, reports in his homeland suggest he is already on a three-man shortlist to replace Mario Ledesma as Australia's scrum coach with the ARU hoping to confirm their new man before the end of February.

It was Australia's head coach Michael Cheika who first brought Gibbes to Ireland, the pair winning a Heineken Cup together at Leinster in 2009.

Gibbes remained in Dublin when Cheika was succeeded by current Ireland coach Joe Schmidt and enjoyed further success before moving to Top 14 giants Clermont.

He replaced Neil Doak as Ulster's head coach last summer, originally to work under Kiss, but if he were to depart it would leave the side in the remarkable position of losing their head man twice in the same season.

Australia's next assignment, interestingly if Gibbes were to make the switch, is a three-game series with Ireland in June.

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