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Dan McFarland will be Ulster head coach for at least two more seasons, after agreeing a contract extension with the province.

The former Connacht prop has overseen an excellent turnaround in the province's fortunes since replacing Jono Gibbes in the summer of 2018, reaching the quarter finals of the Heineken Champions Cup in back-to-back seasons, as well as bringing them to the final of the PRO14 last season - their first final appearance in seven years.

McFarland's initial three-year deal had been set to expire this summer, but the Englishman has now agreed a two year extension to bring him up to the summer of 2023.

"I’m delighted to be signing again with Ulster. I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two and a half years working and learning with some really good people, and I’m looking forward to continuing to help drive on our improvement as a group and as individuals," McFarland said.

"As a group, we are extremely ambitious in our aim to be consistently competing for championships.

"With exciting young talent continuing to emerge out of our Academy system, joining forces with the proven talent within our squad - many of whom have been recently recognised at international level - I look forward to what the weeks and months ahead hold as we take on our next challenges in the domestic league and in Europe this season," he added.

The news comes on the eve of arguably their biggest game of the season, with the Conference A leaders travelling to Leinster, looking to further stretch their lead at the top of the table.

Ulster Rugby CEO Jonny Petrie says it was vital for the province to secure the future of McFarland at Kingspan Stadium.

"I’m extremely pleased to see Dan McFarland extend his commitment to Ulster Rugby, giving us the opportunity to continue to build on the fantastic work that he has done in his time here so far," Petrie said.

"It is plain to see, both on and off the field of play, the ethos that he has instilled in the group, and that is being borne out both in our performances and our results – a team of which the people of Ulster can be rightly and fiercely proud.  

"I’m looking forward to working with Dan in the coming years, to see where we can take this. It’s an exciting prospect," he added.

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