Mark Anscombe given one-year contract extension at Ulster

Mark Anscombe has agreed a one-year extension to his contract as head coach of Ulster, keeping him at Ravenhill until the end of the 2014/2015 season.

The New Zealander is in his second year in charge and his contract was due to expire at the end of this season.

A former coach of Auckland and the New Zealand Under-20 team, Anscombe guided Ulster to the Pro12 final last season.

He recently secured Ulster's first home quarter-final in the Heineken Cup since 1998 with victory over Leicester.

Ulster will face Saracens at Ravenhill on Saturday 5 April for a place in the Heineken Cup semi-finals.

Anscombe joined Ulster in the summer of 2012 and led the team to the knockout stages of Europe for a third successive year, losing to Saracens at Twickenham.

Mark Anscombe's record

  • Joined Ulster as head coach in June 2012
  • Unbeaten in first 16 games in charge of Ulster
  • First Ulster coach to win in France when his side earned a 9-8 victory over Castres in January 2013
  • Led Ulster to first Pro12 final in May 2013
  • Won a record six out of six pool games in Heineken Cup this season
  • Secured Ulster's first home European quarter-final since 1998, against Saracens on 5 April

"I have enjoyed my time at Ravenhill so far," he said.

"We have made good progress, we have a great squad and some excellent young players coming through, so I am pleased to be committing for a further year.

"I said when I started at Ulster that I believed that this would be a three-year project.

"We are half way through that now. We have a home Heineken Cup quarter-final and we are competing for a play-off place in the RaboDirect PRO12 once again.

"My focus over the next year and a half will be to finish the job that I have started and to bring some silverware back to Ravenhill."

As well as delivering results, Anscombe has also added considerable depth to the Ulster squad, using more than 50 different players in his 18 months in charge.

Ulster's Director of Rugby, David Humphreys, stated: "Over the past 18 months Ulster Rugby has made huge progress on and off the pitch".

"Through his coaching, knowledge of the game and experience, Mark Anscombe has taken team performance to a new level and we are delighted he has committed to the Province for a further 12 months.

"It is an exciting time to be part of Ulster Rugby. The redevelopment of Ravenhill is almost complete, we are in a home Heineken Cup quarter-final, and our representation in the Ireland squad is growing.

"We believe that Mark is the right person to deliver immediate success through winning trophies and also long term success through the development of future Ulster and Ireland players."