Simon Easterby to help with coaching Ulster until McFarland arrival

Simon Easterby
Simon Easterby will help coach Ulster until Dan McFarland's arrival

Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby is to assist with coaching Ulster until the arrival of the Irish province's new head coach Dan McFarland.

Easterby began working with the Ulster coaching team this week.

An Ulster Rugby statement said that the former Scarlets forward will "provide coaching support in the interim period" before McFarland's arrival.

It is not yet known when the Scotland forwards coach will take charge at Ulster.

IRFU performance director David Nucifora recently indicated he was confident McFarland would take up his position before January.

McFarland signed a three-year contract with the province in April.

Ulster are keen for the Englishman to be in position ahead of the new season but the SRU says McFarland will serve out a nine-month notice period, a position they reiterated last month when Danny Wilson was named as Scotland's new forwards coach, leading to suggestions McFarland's departure could be hastened.

Ulster's coaching set-up will have a new look by the time the 2018-19 season begins.

Jared Payne is the province's new defence coach having been forced into playing retirement while New Zealander Dan Soper will become assistant to McFarland.

They will also appoint a new strength and conditioning coach following the departure of Jonny Davis on Wednesday.