Super Rugby 2019: Warren Gatland unveiled as Chiefs coach

Warren Gatland is expected to be named as the new Chiefs coach.
Warren Gatland wearing a Chiefs jersey. Photo credit: Chiefs

Warren Gatland has officially been confirmed as the new head coach of the Chiefs, replacing Colin Cooper at the helm.

Gatland has signed a four-year deal that will see him take the role for the 2020, 2022 and 2023 seasons, taking a year out to coach the British & Irish Lions during their 2021 South African tour.

The 55-year-old former All Black said he was grateful for the chance to return home to coach a team he has a strong connection to, having previously served as Chefs technical advisor.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity to come back home," said Gatland. "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 replaces Cooper, who stood down as Chiefs coach on Thursday, with a year left on his contract.

In his two years with the Waikato-based franchise, Cooper led the Chiefs to the quarter-finals twice.

"Developing young players and coaches for the future of New Zealand rugby is something I'm very passionate about," said Cooper. "I'm proud and grateful to have been a part of that with the Chiefs.

"There is a good crew of players and staff here, who are committed to carrying the club forward.

"For now, my focus is to complete our season review, and then my priority is to spend time with my whanau and moko, who are continuing to grow."

Gatland will return to New Zealand after he has completed his Rugby World Cup duties with Wales to begin his new role as Chiefs head coach for the 2020 Super Rugby season.