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Ireland coach Simon Easterby to support Ulster until arrival of Dan McFarland

By Gareth Hanna

Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby will provide coaching support at Ulster Rugby until the arrival of incoming Head Coach Dan McFarland.

McFarland was announced as Ulster's long-term successor to Jono Gibbes back in April but Scotland Rugby have held firm to their current assistant's contractual obligation to serve a notice period lasting until January 2019, just after the end of the Heineken Champions Cup pool stage.

Ulster and the IRFU are still hopeful they will come to an arrangement that would see their new coach released early, but in the event that he isn't, Easterby is their contingency plan.

The 42-year-old has been working with Ireland since 2014 when he joined from Scarlets.

In his playing career, he became the nation's most-capped flanker when he made 65 appearances between 2000 and 2008, included in the British and Irish Lions squad for the 2005 tour to New Zealand.

It has been a summer of change for the Ulster coaching ticket, with Banbridge RFC and RBAI chief Daniel Soper joining as Skills Coach and Jared Payne officially taking over densive coaching duties.

Departing the province are Strength and Conditioning coach Jonny Davis, physio Gareth Robinson as well as, of course, CEO Shane Logan.

Easterby will begin working with the Ulster coaching staff this week before McFarland arrives on a three year deal.

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