Saturday 21 April 2018

Departing Ulster coach Jono Gibbes to take over at Waikato next season

Johnno Gibbes Photo: Sportsfile
Johnno Gibbes Photo: Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Jono Gibbes will take over as Waikato head coach next season, the Mitre 10 Cup club have announced.

Gibbs revealed last week that he would be leaving Ulster at the end of the current campaign.

The New Zealand native, who captained Waikato during a seven-year playing spell with the club, said he was returning home for family reasons.

"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," Gibbes said.

"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."

Gibbes, who was put in charge of team selection at Ulster in January following the departure of Les Kiss, only joined the province last summer.

Last month the former Leinster and Clermont forwards' coach branded reports he was set to take a job with the Australian national team as "fake news", but stopped short of saying he intended to see out the remaining 18 months on his deal.

Stories he was to leave persisted but were, for whatever reason, denied by Ulster Rugby officials. As it turned out the former All Black made up his mind he had to return home following a flying visit over Christmas, a trip that with his family situation in mind had been agreed before he even took the head coach position.

Ulster are currently outside the play-off places in conference B of the Guinness PRO14 and are enduring their worst season in some time.

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