By Sean Moriarty
Former Irish rugby international and Ulster rugby legend David Humphreys is the new Director of Rugby at Gloucester.
The man who famously captained Ulster to Heineken Cup glory in 1999 took on his new role at the beginning of August and is part of a huge management change at the West Country club during the off-season
Early next month he will be joined by Australian Laurie Fisher. The club’s new head coach is the man that guided Munster Rugby to the Magners League two Heineken and one Magners League semi final, during his stint at the Irish club between 2008 and 2011.
Both men have been charged with bringing back the glory days to Gloucester Rugby, they won back-to-back Guinness (now the Aviva) Premiership titles in 2007 and 2008 but last year ended with a disappointing ninth. They were also knocked out of the Heineken Cup, ironically by Munster.
Humphreys told the Irish World: “ This opportunity came along at the right time, it was very much a gut reaction to the opportunity that was here . I am looking forward to testing myself in the Aviva, I was part of Ulster rugby for over 20 years and there was always going to something to make it difficult to leave. I have never really set myself out as a coach, I am working very closely with the management team, we all bring something different, different elements, different characters to that group and hopefully I can bring something to that management team.”
The 43-year-old began his professional career at London Irish before returning to his home province at the beginning of the 1998 season which was capped by Ulster’s victory in the European championships.
He played for 72 times for Ireland, scoring 560 points, including 6 tries, and at the time of his international retirement was Ireland’s most capped outhal
On Saturday he went toe-to-toe with former Irish team-mate and now Munster Rugby’s new head coach Anthony Foley in a pre-season friendly at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium where the home-side comprehensively beat a largely experimental visiting team.
He added: “There is huge amount of expectation in the squad. We cannot take too much out of this result , but at the same time I have played against Munster as a pro , twice a year for the last 25 years, and I know how difficult it is the play against any Munster team, we are delighted how it worked out today.
I have known Anthony for a long time, I have played with him, for a long time and I have played against him and I know he will bring a huge amount to Munster , not just technical and tactical nous in terms of his coaching skills, but what he will bring in his attitude, he has made Munster such a difficult team to play against for many years.
Gloucester Rugby continues its pre-season preparations with another friendly against Scarlets on Saturday ahead of the start of the season proper, a Premiership tie against Northampton on September 5.