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Ulster expected to win battle with Scotland over coach McFarland


By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster are optimistic that new head coach Dan McFarland will be allowed to take over the side in time for pre-season.

After being named in relation to the role in yesterday's Belfast Telegraph, the province later confirmed the Scotland forward specialist as the man to replace Jono Gibbes at Kingspan Stadium. He has, however, a notice period in his current contract that runs for nine months, which would see him unable to start work here until January 2019.

But now less than 18 months out from a World Cup, Gregor Townsend's men will need a replacement and it is understood that once that is secured, McFarland is much more likely to be freed.

The former Glasgow and Connacht man said: "I am really excited that I will be taking on the Ulster head coach role. I know first-hand from my years visiting with Connacht and Glasgow the passion and fervour that makes playing in front of Ulster fans so special. It's a club with a great history and I welcome the challenge."

With a Champions Cup qualification play-off against Ospreys this month, Ulster are still thought to be on the hunt for two assistants.

Meanwhile, as reported by the Belfast Telegraph in March, Ulster's PRO14 games will no longer be on BBC NI with confirmation of a new deal between the league and Premier Sports confirmed yesterday.

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