Image: Chiefs TV
It’s official: Warren Gatland will return to New Zealand and take over the head coaching role at the Chiefs next season.
Gatland, who was in charge of the British & Irish Lions side the drew with the All Blacks in 2017, made the announcement today, a day after Colin Cooper confirmed he’d be standing down.
“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.” he said in a press release.
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.”
Gatland has been coach of Wales since 2007, and guided the side to a Six Nations Grand Slam earlier this year. He is the only man to coach three successive Lions sides, and has signed on to coach them again on their tour to South Africa in 2021. It is understood that he will take that season off from coaching the Chiefs in Super Rugby.
He also played 140 games for Waikato from 1986-94, and played 17 tour games for the All Blacks.