IRFU Have An Interim Coach Ready For Ulster If Dan McFarland Can’t Join In Time

Plan B.

With pre-season already underway for the likes of double champions Leinster, and the new season just weeks away – Ulster still haven’t resolved the issues surrounding the arrival of their new head coach.

Dan McFarland was named as the man to succeed Jono Gibbes a couple of months back, but the small matter of his contract with the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) has cast doubt over his start date with the northern province.

The SRU are adamant he must serve his nine month notice period, meaning he would be unable to take up his position with Ulster until January of next year. Danny Wilson’s move to Wasps was recently hijacked by the SRU, so they have his replacement – but the SRU are seemingly holding out for compensation if McFarland is to link up with Ulster in time for the new season.

While the IRFU are confident they can resolve the issue without paying compensation, high performance director David Nucifora says they have ‘Plan B’ if things don’t work out as planned.

“We knew that when we signed Dan he had a clause in his contract, and we accepted that, and if it turns out that that’s the way that it ends up being then that’s fine,” Nucifora said.

“We’ll just deal with that. We do have a bit of a Plan B in place if that’s the case, and we’ll just wait and see what the Scottish Rugby Union decide to do with Dan probably after the (Scottish) tour.

“Obviously we would like, and Ulster would like, for him to be there at the start of the season but if he can’t be well then we’ll accept that and as I say we’ve got something that we’ll do to support Ulster.”

That ‘Plan B’ according to the Irish Independent is Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell. They’re reporting he will take over at Ulster and act as an interim head coach for seven months until McFarland is able to take the reigns – if the SRU don’t release him.

However, Nucifora did admit that they weren’t expecting to need the Plan B as they are optimistic that McFarland will indeed be let go by the SRU.

“I think (Plan B) is the worst case scenario,” said Nucifora.

“Do I think it will be January? No I don’t. I think there will be a resolution before then so I am not concerned that it’s going to be January.

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