Gatland signs four-year deal to coach Chiefs

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Warren Gatland will take over the Chiefs' reins in 2020, the first of  a four-year deal with the club.

Gatland will finish up with Wales after the Rugby World Cup and while he had recently been confirmed as the Lions coach for the 2021 tour, it was unclear what his next step would be.

News emerged early on Friday morning that the New Zealander was in line to take over from Colin Cooper, who stood down on Thursday, and the club confirmed the news later in the day.

He will coach the Waikato side for one season before taking a season off to focus on his Lions duties, before returning for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

Cooper announced on Thursday. he was stepping aside from the role with one year left on his contract, opening up speculation about the next coach.

Gatland said in a statement he was looking forward to returning home, having coached the Waikato provincial side to a championship back in 2005.

Warren Gatland will be the Lions coach in 2021. Photo: Getty Images“I am really excited about the opportunity to come back home," he said.

"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.”

Gatland has been coach of Wales since 2008 and led his team to a Six Nations Grand Slam this season, amid a long winning run.

Chiefs CEO Michael Collins said they were excited to have Gatland on board.

“Warren is a world-class coach who boasts a proven track record," he said.

"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

Cooper had led the Chiefs to quarter-finals berths in his two seasons in charge.

Gatland will link up with the team after the Rugby World Cup.