Ulster Rugby vs Ospreys


It might be a new position but Ulster Rugby’s team manager is a familar face. Bryn Cunningham played 150 times for the province, spanning the era from Harry Williams and the European win in 1999, through to 2010 and Brian McLaughlin as Head Coach.

the right people for Ulster Rugby and who we want to retain going forward and based on that I will be dealing with the individual agents of those players. “Having been an agent for the past four and a half years I have a great insight into roles like team manager and how they should operate. It is having that industry and market knowledge – not just of players but how clubs operate and how we can get the best from Ulster Rugby.” Aside from the retention and recruitment of players and planning the succession of players, Bryn feels that his new role can contribute positively to the squad in a number of other ways. He says: “I suppose it can be summed up as creating a good environment. Creating good communications channels with players, coaches and administration staff. We want to create a coherent structure, something that the players can buy into and that they are happy and committed to Ulster Rugby going forward and to ensure it is an environment that encourages competitiveness and success.” Competitive and successful – two good adjectives to sum up Bryn’s time with Ulster as a player. No doubt they will now be hallmarks of his time as team manager.

With such a long-standing association with Ulster and 13 years of being a part of the squad you would be forgiven for thinking that becoming team manager would be a relatively easy transition for Bryn. However, with the huge changes both on and off the pitch in recent years, he says it is almost like walking into a new set-up: “Things have moved on and changed dramatically in the four or five years that I have been away,” he says. “It is a much more professional environment. It is a very different experience, but it is one that I am really enjoying. There was certainly a lot to get my teeth into in my first week, but it has been great. I have been left to fulfill as many roles as possible that fall under my remit and I have started to make progress in a number of those.” One of those roles is the recruitment and retention of players. A role that requires a combination of hard nosed negotiation, guile and diplomacy. It is also a role that comes with considerable scrutiny from both fans and the media. However, Bryn is relishing the challenge of that aspect of the job: “Obviously there are a number of guys out of contract this season as there are every year. It is my responsibility along with the Director of Rugby and Head Coach to ensure that we know, with our succession planning who are


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