RTÉ rugby analyst Donal Lenihan believes that the appointment of Jono Gibbs at Ulster could ultimately benefit all four Irish provinces as well as the national team.

Former New Zealand international Gibbs will join Ulster as head coach in time for the 2017/18 season, having signed a two-year deal with the province.

Gibbs, who is currently forwards coach with French side ASM Clermont Auvergne, has previously worked with Leinster, helping them to three European triumphs during a six-year spell in Dublin.

Speaking on Against The Head, Lenihan hailed the appointment of Gibbs at Ulster and insisted that he’ll make a major impact at the Kingspan Stadium.

"I think it’s an outstanding appointment"

“He [Gibbs] played a huge role in Leinster set-up when they won the Heinken Cups,” Lenihan said. “You talk about being stern, I think that’s exactly what Ulster need, they need a bit of discipline and hardness around that front five area.

“I think it’s an outstanding appointment and the bottom line if you now get Ulster up to the pace, the key scenario is that all four provinces performing, the benefit to the national team is absolutely massive.”

Lenihan believes that the appointment of Gibbs fits in with the IRFU’s policy of attracting overseas coaches to help local grow and he belives that Gibbs will have a similar impact to Rassie Erasmus at Munster and Stuart Lancaster at Leinster.

“We talk about the young players coming though and the ability of the provinces to win without their senior players, you’ve got to look at the coaching at the role that is playing in that,” he said.

"This is a key appointment"

“When you look over the last two years, the Munster coaching set-up has been strengthened with experience from overseas in the likes of Jacques Nienaber the defence and obviously Rassie Erasmus.

“Likewise there’s Stuart Lancaster coming in to aid the likes of Leo Cullen and Girvan Dempsey at Leinster.

“Now at Ulster Les Kiss you’d have to say has been struggling and Ulster have been struggling but where they’ve been struggling is in the front five so I think this is a key appointment.”