Former Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss has spoken of the wrench involved in leaving the international set-up as he embarks on a new challenge as Ulster’s director of rugby.

Kiss, who served as interim director of rugby with the province last season, told RTÉ Sport: “It was hard.

“You spend seven and a half years with a group of players - that helped me become a better coach.

“The way that they go about their business is unbelievable, the way they’ll take up a new idea – and I do have some weird ones at times – they embrace things and see if they will work. Their their attention to making sure that they don’t let each other down and let their coaches down is unbelievable.

“I found it really difficult that last day when I did say goodbye because I’ve spent seven and half years here and they’ve been great years.

“I’m indebted to them and it was a privilege, but things move on.    

“I’m really looking forward and I’m excited about being up here now.”

Looking to the task ahead of him, Kiss added: “I think it’s going to be a great challenge.

“The importance of getting the results now is there, but I’m also there for the long game and I hope to be able to develop further what the organisation has done to date.

“It’s an ambitious club.”

The 50-year-old has long admired the Ulster set-up and admitted to being easily persuaded by the advances of the Ulster men, saying: “The way they sold it to me was quite attractive.

“I’ve known the playing group and the coaching group for a number of years.

“To work more closely with them was also something that was attractive to me.”