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Dan McFarland. Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Ulster part company with head coach Dan McFarland

Richie Murphy has been confirmed to take over until the end of this season.

ULSTER HAVE PARTED company with head coach Dan McFarland, it has been confirmed.

The province have lost their last three games in all competitions and are eighth in the URC table. After three defeats in four games, they exited the Champions Cup in the group stages.

The 51-year-old became Ulster head coach in April 2018. Ulster made it to the Champions Cup quarter-final in his first full season in charge. The next season, 2019-20, Ulster got to the Pro14 final, which they lost to Leinster, and the Champions Cup quarter-final. In 2020-21 they made the semi-final of the Challenge Cup.

McFarland signed a new contract at the end of the 2021-22 season having made it to the semi-final of the URC and the Champions Cup round of 16. They went out in the round of 16 again last season, losing to Leinster.

The former Scotland assistant coach was criticised on social media by Ulster fans after Sunday’s 19-17 loss to Ospreys. After the game, McFarland focussed on a late refereeing decision which went against his side when they were on the attack when some supporters thought he should have taken more responsibility for that and other recent results.

“I’d just ask for patience and to stay behind us. It’s a work in progress at this stage of the season,” McFarland said to Ulster’s fans via the province’s website earlier this week.

“We will come through the other side of this and want them to know we really appreciate the support they give. We’ll just ask for positivity and back us to turn things around.”

After reports in the Irish Independent of his departure earlier, Ulster issued a statement confirming the news this afternoon, thanking McFarland for his work over the past six seasons.

Ireland U20s Head Coach, Richie Murphy, has been confirmed to succeed McFarland until the end of this season following the U20s Six Nations.

The statement added that Bryn Cunningham, Head of Rugby Operations and Recruitment at Ulster Rugby, “will also assume greater management responsibilities within the performance function during this time”.

Assistant Coach, Dan Soper, will be in the hotseat next week as Ulster prepare to face Dragons at Kingspan Stadium in the United Rugby Championship.

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