Jared Payne appointed Ulster defence coach
JARED Payne has been appointed Ulster defence coach after being forced to retire from the playing arena.
Neither development comes as a surprise as the 32-year-old hadn't played all season due to recurring headaches and had taken up a coaching role in the interim.
The Kiwi's last appearance came with the British and Irish Lions last year but his tour to New Zealand was cut short due to a head injury.
Payne, who is originally from Tauranga in New Zealand, represented Ulster on 78 occasions and earned 20 Ireland caps in an outstanding playing career.
"It's been a good ride but unfortunately every good thing has to come to an end. Playing rugby has taken me to places I never thought I'd see and allowed me meet people I never thought I'd meet," said Payne.
"Firstly, I'd like to thank my parents for all their help in my younger years and my brother Josh for being a live tackle bag! "Thanks also to the coaches and team mates throughout the years that have made living this dream possible, and to the staff, volunteers and fans that make game days so special.
"The support that I've received from my partner Chrissie and sons Jake and Tyler, particularly over the past 12 months, has been incredible.
"I would like to thank all of the medical professionals who have supported me since my injury occurred back in June last year. I'm extremely grateful for your considerable care and attention.
"While I will undoubtedly miss the buzz of running out with mates every weekend, I have to listen to the medical advice and unfortunately give up the dream.
"However, I've surprised myself how much I have enjoyed coaching and I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth into this role on a permanent basis.
"Finally, I'd like to thank the management here at Ulster for giving me the opportunity to contribute in this way and I look forward to trying to repay the faith shown in me."
Payne will be part of the Irish coaching team for the upcoming three-test series in Australia, starting on June 9.