Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss leaves by 'mutual consent, effective immediately'

Ulster's director of rugby Les Kiss is leaving his post by "mutual consent, effective immediately", the province has announced, writes Stephen Barry.

Ulster crashed out of the Champions Cup last time out, suffering a 26-7 loss to Wasps, while they were trounced by Connacht and Leinster by a combined 59 points over the Christmas games.

Wins over Munster and La Rochelle were not enough to save Kiss, who took the role in November 2015 following a short period as interim director of rugby in 2014.

Ulster thanked Kiss for his "commitment", while the IRFU said he made an "enormous contribution" to Irish rugby.

Kiss helped Ireland to three Six Nations titles in seven years as defence coach of the national team, having joined the coaching set-up in 2008.

IRFU performance director David Nucifora, said: "Les has played a huge part in shaping the success of Irish rugby at national and provincial level since he joined the IRFU in 2008.

"It's no secret that we were disappointed to lose Les from the national team set-up in 2015 but we fully understood his decision to pursue the opportunity at Ulster Rugby.

"We wish him, his wife Julie and all his family all the very best for the future.”

Ulster head coach, Jono Gibbes, will assume responsibility for all coaching matters, while a review will be conducted to ascertain if additional coaching expertise is required.

Operations director, Bryn Cunningham, will manage the off-field operations of the professional team.

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