Wales head coach Warren Gatland has been announced as the new Head Coach of the Chiefs signing a four-year deal with New Zealand Rugby and the Super Rugby franchise.
The confirmation of Gatland as the head coach follows the news of Colin Cooper's early departure from the club.
Gatland will coach the Barbarians against Wales following the Rugby World Cup in Japan before linking up with the Chiefs.
His ongoing success with Wales led to his appointment as head coach of the British & Irish Lions 2017 tour of New Zealand, where they drew the Series against the All Blacks. Recently Gatland was announced as head coach for his third tour with the side in 2021 to South Africa.
Gatland said he was grateful for the chance to return home to New Zealand to coach a side he has a strong connection to.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to come back home. The opportunity to come back as head coach of the Gallagher Chiefs is something that I am really looking forward to. The Gallagher Chiefs are well known for the success they’ve had both on and off the field and the really loyal support they have from everyone within the Chiefs region.
I am excited to come back and be a part of the Chiefs community with the players, the fans, the sponsors, it’s something I really look forward to.”
New Zealand Rugby Head of Professional Rugby Chris Lendrum welcomed Gatland’s appointment.
“This is an outstanding appointment and a coup for the Chiefs, for Investec Super Rugby and for the game in New Zealand generally. We are excited to have a coach of Gats’ experience and international standing coming back into our environment.”
Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Michael Collins is enthusiastic about the appointment; “Warren is a world-class coach who boasts a proven track record. With a sound rugby background and his desire to return home to New Zealand and be involved in Super Rugby naturally made him a top choice for the role.”
“Like Warren we are excited for his return to the Chiefs Rugby environment. He will continue to build on the work Colin Cooper and his team management have achieved in maintaining a sustainable high-performance environment for the Club,” said Collins.
Gatland will return to New Zealand after he has completed his RWC2019 duties with Wales to begin his new role as Chiefs head coach for the 2020 Super Rugby season. His four-year deal to 2023 will include a break to coach the British & Irish Lions in 2021.