Ulster announce departure of assistant coach Joe Barakat

He will return to his native Australia

Joe Barakat, Ulster

Ulster assistant coach Joe Barakat ©INPHO/Presseye/Jonathan Porter

Ulster have announced that assistant coach Joe Barakat will leave the province in December.

He will take up the role of Senior Assistant Coach at Western Force in his native Australia.

The 53-year-old will leave Ulster after their European Champions Cup trip to face Clermont Auvergne on December 18th.

"Firstly, I'd like to thank Ulster Rugby, and particularly Les (Kiss), for the opportunity to come here and be involved in such a fantastic organisation. I can't speak highly enough of the coaching group and the players here at Ulster - there is so much talent and ambition here and that will only lead to positive things in the future," said Barakat.

"My wife and I have been lucky enough to call Belfast home for the past 16 months - it's a brilliant city and we have made some great friends in that time. So I'd like to thank the wonderful supporters and the wider public for their support since my arrival.

"This opportunity with Western Force is a chance for me to take on a senior position at a Super Rugby franchise, while also bringing me back to be closer to my family, having spent a long time away from home.

"Until I leave in December I will be fully committed to the Ulster cause and will do everything in my power to ensure that we are well-placed going into the business end of the season."