Winger Andrew Trimble has sung the praises of Brian McLaughlin amid reports the coach is set to leave Ulster at the end of the RaboDirect PRO12 season.
McLaughlin has been widely lauded for guiding the province to back-to-back Heineken Cup quarter-finals but his future at Ravenhill is unclear following a series of reports, suggesting he wouldn’t be offered a contract extension to take him beyond the end of season.
Rumours are rife that Ulster are looking to make a big-name appointment from the Southern Hemisphere but at present, none of the aforementioned reports have been confirmed by anyone involved.
But amid the conjecture, Trimble, who will start on the wing for Ireland in their Six Nations opener against Wales on Sunday, has taken the opportunity to pay tribute to McLaughlin.
"I don't know who is making the decisions and what's gone on, what conversations have happened and who wants to go where," Trimble is quoted as saying in the Irish Daily Mirror.
"I don't know what Brian's plans are so I don't want to say too much about it.
"But I know that for the last couple of years I've fully enjoyed being coached by Brian. He's a guy who is very popular, very honest and very trustworthy.
"I think we've played well under him and for him, and I think that's the key because we have a lot of respect for him.
"He's popular and we like him, we all want to play well for him and that's important. And certainly he'll be missed."