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Gibbes to leave Ulster this summer

Head Coach Jono Gibbes will leave Ulster Rugby at the end of the season to return to New Zealand.

Commenting on his decision, Gibbes said:

“Being a long way from home for the last ten years has made me prioritise things above my career and so I’ll be returning at the end of this season for family reasons.

“The decision to leave here is a difficult one professionally, because I support the team and the staff, and I am excited for what the future holds for them. I believe there are enough passionate and professional people involved to build on the existing strong foundations of the club.

“The challenge ahead for Ulster demands the full attention of everyone involved; the management group, the team, the coaches and support staff. It is exciting and achievable. However, I cannot in good conscience provide my full attention for the journey ahead.

“My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Ulster to date and we’re very grateful for the welcome and good spirit afforded to us.

“I wish the team and the club all the very best for the future, and I am grateful for their understanding and support.”

Operations Director, Bryn Cunningham, added:

“While it’s clearly disappointing to lose a coach of Jono’s experience and quality, we fully understand and support his decision as family must always come first.

“We’d like to thank Jono for his dedication thus far and I know that he will be fully committed to us until the end of the season.

“A review of the coaching structure is ongoing and the desired outcome of this will be to provide us with a strong, well-balanced coaching team and some long-term stability.”

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Rugby

#READYFORRUGBY Support Webinars: Registration Open

IRFU Participation Rugby Operations Manager David Keane said:

“These are the first of a wider series of support webinars we’ll be making available to clubs and schools over the coming weeks and months. The feedback on this format has been really positive and they provide a new way for the IRFU and provinces to engage directly with clubs and schools.”

“COVID-19 Safety Planning is the first consideration for anyone who wants to be get ready for rugby. Once those plans are in place, non-contact rugby will be the first format of the game we’re likely to see up and running. The content of these webinars reflect this and are designed to get our communities back in action as soon as permitted.”

#ReadyForRugby Support Webinar 2: How To Run A Touch Rugby Competition Within Your Club

Time: Thursday 25th March 2021, 13:00 – 13:30

Registration Link: http://bit.ly/RFR-Web-2

Presenters:

Suitable For:

  • Adult & Age-Grade Coaches
  • Team Managers, COVID-19 Club/School Safety Officers & Compliance Officers
  • Club Officers & Volunteers

Touch rugby competitions within a club or school are a proven way to offer fun and competitive playing opportunities that are compliant with public health measures and focus on skill and athletic development.

This webinar will run you through the basics of touch rugby, how to prepare for members’ return and how to set up competitions within your club.

#ReadyForRugby Support Webinar 3: Making Your Club An Amenity For Your Community

Time: Monday 29th March 2021, 13:00 – 13:30

Registration Link: http://bit.ly/RFR-Web-3

Presenters:

  • Anne Marie Hughes (IRFU Spirit Of Rugby Manager)
  • Portarlington RFC Case Study
  • Ballynahinch RFC Case Study

Suitable For:

  • Club Officers & Volunteers

Featuring working case studies, this webinar will look at how clubs are using their facilities to provide an outlet for wellbeing and physical activity to the wider community. It will also provide details of government campaigns that support this type of activity.

#ReadyForRugby Support Webinar 4: An Introduction To Coaching Touch Rugby

Time: Thursday 1st April 2021, 13:00 – 13:30

Registration Link: http://bit.ly/RFR-Web-4

Presenters:

Suitable For:

  • Adult & Age-Grade Coaches
  • Team Managers
  • Club Officers & Volunteers

This webinar is designed to help clubs and schools who want to know more about touch rugby as an offering to players for skill development, fitness and fun. It will provide an overview of resources available for first-time coaches of touch rugby.

#ReadyForRugby Support Webinar 5: RugbyConnect Refresher For Administrators

Time: Tuesday 6th April 2021, 13:00 – 13:30

Registration Link: http://bit.ly/RFR-Web-5

Presenters:

  • Lucy Mulhall (IRFU)

Suitable For:

  • Club and School Administrators
  • Club Officers & Volunteers

RugbyConnect is the IRFU’s online administration system for clubs and schools. This webinar will walk through updates to the system and help refresh knowledge for clubs and schools ahead of any return to rugby activity.

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Rugby

Former All Black Craig Newby Signs As Ulster’s New Skills Coach

“The positive environment at Ulster, together with how the club is run – both on and off the field – are what I am looking forward to being a part of when I join later this year. By bringing my personality and skillset as a coach to the role, I hope to build on the great work already underway.”

New Zealand-born, Craig Newby, will take up the role of Skills Coach for Ulster Rugby this summer ahead of the commencement of the 2021/22 season after signing a 1-year deal with the province.

With an extensive rugby career to-date, Newby is set to join Ulster as Skills Coach from his current role as Director of Rugby at St John’s School in Leatherhead.

A back-rower in his playing days back in New Zealand – which included a stint captaining the Highlanders and representing his home country as an All Black – Newby made the move to England in 2008 when he signed for Leicester Tigers, and was part of the side that won the Premiership Final during his first season at the club.

Since making the move into coaching, the 41-year-old has gone on to hold a number of positions within the English National Leagues, and was with the NEC Japan Top League as Forwards and Defence Coach for a season. Newby also currently holds the role of England U20 Women’s Forwards Coach and has been involved in the coaching set-up for both the Wasps U18s and Harlequins U16s.

On the signing, Ulster Rugby Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said:

“I look forward to welcoming Craig, and to working alongside him as he makes the role his own and plays his part in our ambitions going forward as a squad.”

Commenting on his new role, Craig Newby, added:

“The positive environment at Ulster, together with how the club is run – both on and off the field – are what I am looking forward to being a part of when I join later this year. By bringing my personality and skillset as a coach to the role, I hope to build on the great work already underway.”

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