DAVID HUMPHREYS, who as both player and coach helped Ulster to become one of the giants of the European game, has been appointed Gloucester's new director of rugby.
It is another powerful statement of intent from CEO Stephen Vaughan that he intends to make the Kingsholm side a major force.
A 42-year-old former fly half, who played 72 times for Ireland, Humphreys will take up his role shortly having come in to replace Nigel Davies.
Belfast born, he started his playing career at his home province of Ulster and enjoyed a spell in the Premiership with London Irish before returning to Ulster ahead of the 1998-9 season.
That season saw him play a pivotal role in the Irish province lifting the Heineken Cup, defeating Colomiers in the final at Lansdowne Road.
Humphreys spent the rest of his playing career with Ulster before retiring in 2008 and taking on the role of Director of Rugby at Ravenhill.
A qualified solicitor, his tenure at Ulster has seen him oversee the province as they regularly reached the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup, losing out in the final in 2012.
"This appointment is so key for the long-term success of the club, and I'm absolutely thrilled that David is joining Gloucester," said Vaughan.
"We have received applications from all over the world and Ryan Walkinshaw and myself spoke to a large number of high calibre individuals. "However, once David entered the frame and we discussed our vision and what he could bring to the project, we knew we had our man.
"His background as an international player in the professional era, and subsequent experiences as Director of Rugby mean that he has the ideal skill set for the role.
"With the signings that we have made ahead of next season, allied to the retention work we carried out and the continuing investment in ensuring we have a high performance environment, the playing department looks in great shape. And we now have the ideal person in David to shape this and drive us forward.”
Chairman Ryan Walkinshaw echoed those sentiments, saying: "It was absolutely crucial that we made the right appointment. It's an exciting new era for Gloucester Rugby and I'm delighted that David will be part of it.
"Having interviewed a number of candidates with Stephen, David was very impressive and without doubt the calibre of individual the club needs. Gloucester Rugby commissioned a piece of research on the most effective models for success, and felt that moving away from our previous model of a head coach with DOR responsibilities was important going forward.
"We believe having David in place with a more strategic skill set will get the best out of our playing department going forward.
"Gloucester Rugby is in great shape. The business has just made a profit for the fourth year in succession, World Cup Rugby will be here in 15 months and the years ahead promise to be memorable ones for everybody associated with the club. I've never been more excited about the club.”