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Gatland to take the Chiefs reins after World Cup duty with Wales


Going home: Wales head coach Warren Gatland
Going home: Wales head coach Warren Gatland

By Robert Jones

Warren Gatland is returning to New Zealand after signing a four-year deal to become head coach of the Gallagher Chiefs.

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Gatland will relinquish his role as Wales boss after this year's World Cup in Japan and will take up his new position in his native Hamilton for the 2020 season.

The 55-year-old has already been announced as the British and Irish Lions head coach for the 2021 tour to South Africa and will be allowed a break to lead the team for his third consecutive tour.

Gatland said he was "really excited" to be returning home.

"The opportunity to come back as head coach of the Gallagher Chiefs is something that I am really looking forward to," he added.

"The Gallagher Chiefs are well known for the success they've had both on and off the field and the loyal support they have."

Gatland has coached Wales since 2008, winning four Six Nations titles, including three Grand Slams, and has the chance to become the first Lions head coach to remain unbeaten on tours to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The in-demand boss assisted Sir Ian McGeechan in South Africa in 2009 before winning the 2013 series in Australia and drawing with New Zealand in 2017.

New Zealand Rugby's head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said: "We are excited to have a coach of Gats' experience and international standing coming back into our environment."

Gatland is a former Waikato Rugby Union head coach and was the technical adviser for the Chiefs in 2006.

Chiefs Rugby Club chief executive Michael Collins added: "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."

Gatland is replacing Colin Cooper, who stepped down early after two years as Chiefs coach.

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