Scotland Assistant Coach Dan McFarland is to leave the national team set-up early next year, and will join Ulster as their new Head Coach.
A statement from the Belfast-based side confirmed the appointment of the former Connacht prop on a three-year deal from next season, replacing the departing Jono Gibbes, who is returning to his native New Zealand for personal reasons.
McFarland joined the national team’s coaching staff from Glasgow Warriors, where he had been assistant coach under Gregor Townsend, and followed the former Scotland international into the national team set-up.
Former Melrose Rugby and Scotland back-row Carl Hogg, who has been Worcester Warriors Head Coach since 2013, has agreed to join the Scotland staff on an interim basis, and will share coaching duties with McFarland on the 2018 Summer Tour of Canada, the USA and Argentina.
Ulster Rugby’s Operations Director Bryn Cunningham said: “Dan was our number one candidate so we’re obviously very happy to have secured his services for the next three years.
“Dan’s CV is hugely impressive and he commands great respect within the game. He enjoyed successful spells with Connacht and Glasgow Warriors, and the fact that Gregor [Townsend] brought him into the Scotland set-up speaks volumes for how highly he rates him.
“Our priority in this process was to identify and recruit the best possible candidate first and foremost.
McFarland told Ulster’s website: “I am really excited that I will be taking on the Ulster Head Coach role.
“I know firsthand from my years visiting with Connacht and Glasgow the passion and fervour that makes playing in front of Ulster fans so special.
“It’s a club with a great history and I welcome the challenge of being a part of their future.”
McFarland spent more than ten years playing and coaching with Connacht and was involved with Ireland Under-20s, Irish Wolfhounds and Emerging Ireland before taking up his role at Scotstoun.