The Western Force have added Ulster Rugby assistant Joe Barakat to their coaching ranks for 2017.
Barakat has spent time at the Waratahs, five years in Japan and was forwards and defence coach at Fiji Rugby Union, bringing a wealth of experience to Perth and young Force coach Dave Wessels.
Barakat will remain with Ulster until December 18, before moving to Australia with his family and said he was excited about returning to Australia.
“Firstly, I’d like to thank Ulster Rugby, and particularly Les (Kiss, Ulster’s director of rugby), for the opportunity to come here and be involved in such a fantastic organisation,” he said.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the coaching group and the players here at Ulster - there is so much talent and ambition here and that will only lead to positive things in the future.
“My wife and I have been lucky enough to call Belfast home for the past 16 months - it’s a brilliant city and we have made some great friends in that time. So I’d like to thank the wonderful supporters and the wider public for their support since my arrival.
“This opportunity with the Western Force is a chance for me to take on a senior position at a Super Rugby franchise, while also bringing me back closer to my family, having spent a long time away from home.
“Until I leave in December I will be fully committed to the Ulster cause and will do everything in my power to ensure that we are well-placed going into the business end of the season.”
Joe Barakat – Coaching career
Head Coach: Junior Waratahs and Academy - 2005 – 2010
Forwards Set Piece and Defence Coach: Fiji Rugby Union - 2009 – 2010
Assistant Coach (Forwards and Defence): NTT Communications Shining Arcs: 2010 –2012
Forwards Coach: Toshiba - 2012 – 2015
Assistant Coach: Ulster Rugby – 2015 - Present