Ulster Rugby has confirmed that Dan McFarland will assume the role of Head Coach next season on a three-year contract. The former Connacht Assistant coach is currently working with the Scotland national team.
As a player, McFarland won the Top 14 with Stade Français before moving to Connacht and amassing over 100 caps for the province. He transitioned from playing to coaching in 2006 initially as a forwards coach before becoming an Assistant Coach in 2010.
While at Connacht he also held Head Coach positions with Emerging Ireland and the Ireland Wolfhounds and was Assitant Coach to Eric Elwood in 2007 when the Irish under 20s won the Six Nations.
From there McFarland took over as Assistant Coach at Glasgow Warriors in 2015 and he worked alongside Townsend before the pair took up posts with the national side in May 2017. In the past, Connacht players have praised McFarland's one-on-one sessions and video work. Bryn Cunningham, Ulster Rugby's Operations Director, confirmed McFarland's name was at the top of their shortlist when assessing options.
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, and the fact that Gregor 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. With the confirmation of Dan's appointment, we will be announcing at least one further addition to the coaching team in the near future to ensure that we have a strong unit in place in advance of pre-season.
McFarland confirmed his delight at the new role.
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.
According to the Scottish Rugby Union, McFarland will not leave until mid-January as he serves a nine-month notice period while the recruitment process gets underway.