Warren Gatland is the new head coach of the Chiefs, the Chiefs and New Zealand Rugby confirmed on Friday.
Gatland, currently coaching Wales through to the end of the Rugby World Cup 2019, has inked a four-year deal with the Chiefs.
The former Waikato Rugby Union head coach and Chiefs technical advisor has been in charge of the Welsh national side since 2008. Gatland has been instrumental to the success of the Welsh national side during his tenure with an impressive record of four Six Nations titles, including three grand slams, the most recent in 2019.
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 Chiefs is something that I am really looking forward to. The 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 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 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.
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