Rugby: Incoming Waikato coach Jono Gibbes holds talks with La Rochelle

Jono Gibbes was granted an early release from Ulster citing family reasons for his departure.
Jono Gibbes was granted an early release from Ulster citing family reasons for his departure. Photo credit: AAP

After announcing he was returning to New Zealand due to 'family reasons', incoming Waikato mentor Jono Gibbes might not be returning home after all.

According to the BBC, the outgoing Ulster coach has held talks with La Rochelle about taking charge of the French club.

The former All Black had already agreed to take charge of Waikato for the upcoming domestic season but could now remain in Europe instead.

41-year-old Gibbes was granted an early release from his Ulster contract in March for family reasons and days later was announced as the new coach of Waikato, but now that could all change.

The French Top 14 side say they hope to make an announcement shortly.

Ulster could not comment on French media reports that La Rochelle was pursuing Gibbes to succeed Patrice Collazo.

The former Leinster and Clermont Auvergne forwards coach flew to the west coast of France during a rest day for the Ulster squad.

Gibbes has been coaching in Europe since 2008 when he joined Leinster as forwards coach.

Former All Blacks Jason Eaton, Victor Vito, Tawera Karr-Barlow and Rene Ranger are currently contracted to La Rochelle.

Newshub.