Departing Ulster head coach Jono Gibbes has confirmed he will take a job with Waikato once he returns home to New Zealand, as reported in Monday's Belfast Telegraph.
The 41-year-old, who arrived at the province only last summer announced on Friday that a family situation means he will be forced to leave Kingsan Stadium when this season ends
Taking charge of Waikato's Mitre 10 Cup side, the provincial team he once captained, he was keen to stress that any future job is a product of his return southwards, not the other way round when speaking over the weekend.
"I've a young family so being employed is a relatively high priority for me," he said. "That's only realistic. Any employment I have in New Zealand is a consequence of me moving back to New Zealand, it's important to emphasise that I'm not leaving Ulster for another job, but I do plan to be employed. I need to be employed but that will be because I'm back in New Zealand, nothing else."
Commenting on his new post, Gibbes said: "For me, it is an honour to have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of previous Waikato coaches, who all contributed to the proud history of the province. With the opportunity comes the responsibility to do the colours justice. That has to be the first objective for myself and for the 2018 team."
Waikato CEO Blair Foote said “The Waikato Rugby Union is very pleased to announce Jono Gibbes as the new Head Coach of the Mitre 10 Cup team for the 2018 season. He brings a wealth of experience and successful coaching knowledge to the position gained over the last 10 years in the European competitions, and being a former player for the province, he also brings an understanding of the pride and passion playing in a red, yellow and black jersey requires.
"It is great to have a coach of his calibre rejoining the Waikato set up, and we look forward to working with Jono as he puts his unique stamp on the Mitre 10 Cup in 2018 and beyond.”