It's been a big few days for Ulster rugby. This week the province announced that former All Black and current Clermont forwards coach John Gibbes would be taking up the role of Head Coach for next season. And now the province have revealed that the man who will work alongside Gibbes as Assistant Coach is a familiar face for Irish rugby fans: Dwayne Peel.
Peel is currently the backs coach at Bristol but is perhaps more remembered for being a double Grand Slam-winning scrum half with Wales and captaining them at the World Cup in 2007. In addition to this he played on the British and Irish Lions team that toured to New Zealand in 2005, even accompanying Brian O'Driscoll for the infamous 'grass toss' used to 'accept' the challenge laid down by the Haka (that would nearly lose O'Driscoll his shoulder moments later).
Peel, 35, said of his new role:
I'm delighted to have this opportunity. Ulster is one of the big clubs in European rugby and I'm looking forward to working with a large contingent of quality players.
Coaching was always a natural progression for me and I'm really enjoying my role with Bristol. Over the years I've spent time in different environments trying to pick things up that will benefit my career and this move to Belfast is another step in the right direction.
I've talked with Les (Kiss) a lot over the past couple of weeks and it's exciting for me to work with someone of his calibre. I'm looking forward to getting started in the summer, but my focus will be with Bristol until the end of the season.