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Jono Gibbes is 95% certain to take over at La Rochelle: reports

Jono Gibbes

Jono Gibbes is all but nailed on to become La Rochelle's next coach, according to reports in France.

Midi Olympique (via ultimaterugby.com) say they are 95% certain that Gibbes will move to the Top 14 side now that his spell at Ulster is at an end.

The Kiwi finished up his short stint as the province's head coach with the Champions Cup play-off victory over Ospreys on Sunday. That came just three days after he had visited La Rochelle for discussions.

Despite indications that Gibbes had made the trip 'as a courtesy' to La Rochelle, speculation has been mounting that he will in fact make the move to France.

That was fuelled when, after Sunday's win at Kingspan Stadium, Gibbes refused to rule out the possibility.

"Next season, I don't know categorically the answer to that," he said.

The move would mark something of a turnaround after Gibbes announced back in March that he would return to his native New Zealand this summer in order to be close to an undisclosed family situation. It was even confirmed that he would take up a coaching role at Waikato, whose CEO Blair Foote said on Friday that he had been speaking with Gibbes.

"I had a message from Jono on Monday just concerning when he's arriving and a start date when he's had a chance to get over jet lag," Foote is quoted as saying. "If something has changed between now and then, we don't know about that."

Now, however, Gibbes' future has been plunged into doubt.

Gibbes took over as Ulster Rugby Head Coach after Les Kiss' departure at the end of January.

La Rochelle finished seventh in last season's Top 14, narrowly missing out on a place in next season's Champions Cup.

Belfast Telegraph