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Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Monday, 22 June 2009 14:54 UK

McLaughlin lands Ulster coach job

Brian McLaughlin
McLaughlin was Ireland skills coach during Eddie O'Sullivan's reign

Belfast teacher Brian McLaughlin will be confirmed as the new Head Coach of Ulster Rugby on Tuesday.

The appointment of the 50-year-old former Ireland skills coach was finally agreed by the Irish RFU last week.

McLaughlin will sign a two-year deal and is scheduled to be unveiled to the media on Thursday.

The Head of PE was granted a second career break by RBAI so that he could fill the vacancy created by the sudden departure in May of Matt Williams.

The choice of McLaughlin as coach had been anticipated but, before everything was confirmed, due process had to be observed in relation to the IRFU, RBAI and his personal contract.

It is a dream job for the Newtownards-born McLaughlin who always wanted to coach his home province.

Ulster officials are understood to have earmarked McLaughlin for the job after conducting interviews earlier in June.

McLaughlin now faces a massive task to lift Ulster's fortunes after a disappointing 2008-09 season.

While McLaughlin may not be the big name coach many had hoped for, he still has plenty of experience and knows most of the players.

His three years working with Eddie O'Sullivan's Ireland squad was a success in relative terms.

An excellent technical coach, McLaughlin is a stickler for the basics, but is not afraid to promote flair and a little ingenuity.

McLaughlin's rugby life started with his home town club Ards where he was a back-row forward alongside Ireland stars Philip Matthews and Nigel Carr before injury interrupted his career.

He had success at Ulster and Ireland age group level winning the Five Nations Grand Slam alongside O'Sullivan in the early 1990s.

His other coaching duties included spells at club sides Malone and Instonians while behind the scenes he quietly guided Division Two outfit Ballynahinch to a clean sweep of titles last season.

He is most recognised, however, for his work at schools level. He coached Wallace to a couple of cup finals and then guided RBAI to seven cup finals in 12 years, winning five of them.

He also won the inter-provincial title with the Ulster Under-21 side where he coached the current captain Rory Best.

McLaughlin will continue with the same backroom staff who were in position at Ravenhill, with Jeremy Davidson and former pupil at Wallace Neil Doak his main assistants.

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see also
Williams resigns as Ulster coach
20 May 09 |  Ulster
Williams accepts Ulster position
30 Dec 07 |  Ulster

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