The Chiefs have announced the coaching team which will be joining Chiefs Head Coach Warren Gatland for the 2020 Super Rugby season.
Former Gallagher Chiefs first five-eighth and New Zealand Under 20 Assistant Coach David Hill will join a cohesive coaching team as an assistant coach. Hill will join the coaching unit of Forwards Coach Neil Barnes, Defence Coach Tabai Matson, Attack Coach Roger Randle, Scrum Coach Nick White and Resource Coach Andrew Strawbridge.
Barnes will return for his fifth season with the Chiefs. The Taranaki dairy farmer brings a wealth of coaching experience having spent seven years away including two Rugby World Cup campaigns as the Canadian Maples forwards coach. In 2018 Barnes returned home to take up the Gallagher Chiefs assistant coach role. Since his return he has continued to add to his coaching resume completing his third Rugby World Cup campaign, this time with Fiji as their assistant coach. Barnes will acquire the forwards portfolio for the 2020 Chiefs campaign.
Fijian-born Matson made 58 appearances for Canterbury and played 25 games for the Crusaders in the 1990s, before continuing his playing career abroad. He played two tests for Fiji at the 1999 World Cup, a team he also was named as assistant coach for the 2015 tournament, after Fiji won the Pacific Nations Cup in Vancouver. Matson also played five matches for the All Blacks before turning his hand to coaching.
Matson joined Canterbury as their assistant coach in 2009, a role he held for three seasons before being promoted to head coach in 2012. In 2013 he joined the Crusaders coaching team and was also appointed assistant coach of the Maori All Blacks that same year, working alongside Colin Cooper for his three years with the national team. Now in his second season with the Gallagher Chiefs, Matson will oversee the defence portfolio.
Another former player turning his hand to coaching, Nick White, was a prop for Northland, Auckland, the Crusaders, the Highlanders, the Blues and New Zealand A before retiring. From there he joined the Blues as scrum coach in 2012 which then followed onto his appointment as head coach for Auckland in 2016. White joined the Gallagher Chiefs as scrum coach for the 2018 season. He has been instrumental in the performance of the Gallagher Chiefs scrummaging since the beginning of his tenure and will continue to hold his role as scrum coach.
Former All Black, New Zealand Sevens and Gallagher Chiefs player Roger Randle will head the Gallagher Chiefs attack. Randle moved into coaching late in his playing career, his coaching career now spanning over ten years provides a wealth of attack coaching experience across both provincial and international rugby. The Maori All Blacks and Waikato assistant coach will continue to build on his coaching resume with the Gallagher Chiefs for his second season, moving from his role as the assistant backs coach.
Former Waikato player and current Head Coach Andrew Strawbridge has been involved with several Gallagher Chiefs campaigns. Strawbridge was involved with the Gallagher Chiefs in 2001 as a kicking coach until he became assistant coach at North Harbour in 2003. He assisted the New Zealand Under 20 in 2008 and 2009 winning the World Championship in both years and he was a part of the Gallagher Chiefs coaching staff which helped win their back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. Strawbridge moved into a resource coach position earlier this year after taking over as head coach for Waikato, once again Strawbridge will fulfil this role for the 2020 season.
Gatland said he was happy to have finalised his management and is ready to settle into the campaign.
“I'm pleased with the coaching group that has been assembled to lead the Gallagher Chiefs in 2020. There is an abundance of experience among these men and I trust this will provide us with a solid platform we can build on to deliver a successful campaign for the Club.”
“It is a great to have David join the fold this season. He has an impressive coaching resume to date; his technical knowledge of the game is second to none. We know he already has a great rapport with a number of our squad already and we trust in his role he will continue to make a positive impact,” said Gatland.
New Zealand Rugby Head of Professional Rugby Chris Lendrum congratulated the Chiefs Rugby Club on their coaching appointments.
“It is great to see New Zealand continuing to produce great coaches. I congratulate the Chiefs who have a great mix of international and provincial coaching, as well as a fantastic group of people who bring a unique former player perspective with them,” he said.
2020 Chiefs Coaching Management:
Head Coach: Warren Gatland
Forwards Coach: Neil Barnes
Defence Coach: Tabai Matson
Attack Coach: Roger Randle
Assistant Coach: David Hill
Scrum Coach: Nick White
Resource Coach: Andrew Strawbridge