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David Humphreys leaves Gloucester amid rugby's 'new challenges' of coronavirus pandemic

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David Humphreys will leave Gloucester at the end of June (David Davies/PA)

David Humphreys will leave Gloucester at the end of June (David Davies/PA)

David Humphreys will leave Gloucester at the end of June (David Davies/PA)

Former Ulster out-half David Humphreys has left his role as Gloucester's Director of Rugby, following head coach Johann Ackermann out the door.

The Ireland international, who departed a similar role with his native province to join the Cherry and Whites in 2014, oversaw a big change at the club who appeared to be on an upward trajectory before struggling this season.

Ackermann's decision to leave and move to Japan caused him to rethink his position and he's decided to depart.

"It has been a huge honour to have played a small part in the history of this great club," Humphreys said in a club statement.

"I have loved every minute of my time here and have been very fortunate to work with great coaches and support staff, and with great players.

"Over that time, we have built the foundations for a successful Club, both on and off the pitch, and last season's third place finish in the Premiership was a reflection of the progress that has been made.

"However, following Johan Ackermann's departure last month, I took some time to review my own position at Gloucester and in light of many new challenges facing professional rugby as a result of Covid-19, I felt it was the right time for me to move on and a new Head Coach to come in and build on the work that has been done.

"It is always difficult to leave somewhere that has become home and I will always be very grateful to everyone in the West Country for the very warm welcome they gave to both me and my family. In particular, a huge personal thanks to Martin St Quinton for his friendship and encouragement throughout my time at Gloucester, and for his support in building a Gloucester playing squad to be a competitive force in the Premiership.

"The Gallagher Premiership is a wonderful competition and I will miss the excitement building up to every game at Kingsholm.

"When I left Ulster I didn't think there were many places to rival the atmosphere at the Kingspan stadium, but from beating Sale in my first game at Kingsholm, I realised what a special place it is to play rugby when you're wearing a Cherry & White shirt. This is entirely due to the incredible Gloucester supporters and I thank you all for your support over the last few seasons."

Former Wales teammates Rob Howley and Dai Young are tipped to come in at Kingsholm, while Humphreys' next move will be closely watched in Irish rugby circles.

With more than a decade's experience as a director of rugby and a stellar playing career behind him, the 48-year-old will be highly sought after within the game.

Belfast Telegraph