Ulster have announced that Banbridge coach Daniel Soper will join their backroom team as skills coach for next season.
Soper will join the backroom team under head coach Dan McFarland. Other members of the Ulster coaching team for next year are Jared Payne, who was recently appointed defence coach, Dwayne Peel (assistant coach), Aaron Dundon (scrum coach) and Niall Malone (head analyst).
Soper, a 41-year old native of Alexandra in New Zealand, moved to Ireland back in 1998 and later played for Banbridge RFC and Ballynahinch RFC.
20 years after he played in Banbridge’s first All Ireland League game, Head Coach Daniel Soper aiming to guide Bann to top tier of Ireland’s premier club competition » https://t.co/4DyIXYzNcm pic.twitter.com/Bn7mUawHF2— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) April 27, 2018
In recent years, he has guided Banbridge to two promotions in the All-Ireland League.
Speaking about his appointment, Soper said he was excited about how Ulster intended to play in the coming years.
"When I spoke to Bryn (Cunningham) and the other coaches, I was really impressed with the vision they have about how they want the team to play and where they want the club to go, and I feel my strengths are well suited to the role they want me to play in that.
"There are a lot of the players that I have worked with over the years, from Michael (Lowry) and James (Hume) at ‘Inst’ in recent years, right back to Darren Cave who I coached at Sullivan, as well as all the players on the Ulster Schools and Banbridge teams.
"Also, as someone who has been a Season Ticket holder for the past number of years, I’ve always watched the development of players with a keen eye so it’s really exciting that I’ll now have the opportunity to help further that development."