Neil Doak believes his "extended interview" has allowed Ulster to offset the blow of losing coaches David Humphreys and Mark Anscombe on the eve of the season.

The former dual-sport Ireland rugby and cricket international is expected to be confirmed as Ulster's new head coach this week, with the province also understood to be recruiting a new rugby director to replace Humphreys.

Former Ulster scrum-half Doak has held the interim coaching post since Humphreys departed for Gloucester at the end of the summer and Anscombe left the club to boot.

Ireland's defence coach Les Kiss was drafted into the Ulster set-up to guide the indigenous Ulster trio of Doak, Jonny Bell and Allen Clarke assuming greater responsibility.

Doak refused to be drawn on his current status, save confirming Kiss will return to full-time Ireland duty on October 13.

Ulster and Ireland hooker Rory Best has backed Doak's credentials, but the 42-year-old Lisburn native himself revealed he made no formal application nor has had any interview for Ulster's top job.

"Without officially going through an interview process, Les coming in has given Shane and the board time to assess what the best options are moving forward" - Neil Doak

"It is a help, yes," Doak said of Ulster's board affording him effectively an extended trial.

"If you're applying for other posts there would be an interview process.

"That may still be the case, but I suppose when you're in the day-to-day running of things, that in a sense might be an extended interview as well.

"Without officially going through an interview process, Les coming in has given Shane and the board time to assess what the best options are moving forward.

"Ulster have raised their profile over the last few years. Anybody coming in to be head coach would be very fortunate.

"It's a great stadium with Kingspan coming on board, we've grown players we have locally into the international set-ups and the signings have settled in really well.

"The squad has gelled well together, and the good thing is that the next 10 to 12 months is leading into the World Cup and all four provinces are going really well."

Doak praised Ulster's board and chief executive Shane Logan for refusing to panic when Humphreys and Anscombe departed, instead securing breathing space with the short-term arrival of Kiss.

"I've known Les well over the last few years," said Doak. "I've linked in with Les and really enjoyed it.

"He's come in and looked at the overall structure, and tried to suggest what the best way forward is, and I think we've worked well together over the last few months.

"The coaches, there at the moment, we've been involved for the last number of years.

"There's been a quick turnaround so the board wanted to have a look at the structure that would suit best moving forward.

"I suppose when you look at a few teams, directors of rugby can be heavily involved in coaching or not, and with Les coming in that's given the board a bit of time to see what the best way forward for Ulster Rugby is."