Cooper confirmed as Chiefs head coach

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Chiefs have appointed Colin Cooper as successor to Dave Rennie as head coach of the Super Rugby team on a three-year contract from 2018.

Maori All Blacks and Taranaki boss Cooper will take charge of the Hamilton-based franchise at the end of the 2017 season, when Rennie departs to start his reign as Glasgow Warriors head coach.

Former Hurricanes head coach Cooper, who can boast a flawless record with the Maori All Blacks since his appointment three years ago, will lead Taranaki in the Mitre 10 Cup next year before taking up his new position.

The announcement comes just a day after British and Irish Lions and Wales head coach Warren Gatland revealed he turned down the chance to replace Rennie.

Cooper said: "I'm really looking forward to joining the Chiefs in 2018 and contributing to the proud, competitive and successful legacy of the club.

"To be involved in coaching Super Rugby again within the ambitious and innovative set-up at the Chiefs is exciting and to have the opportunity to develop young players and coaches for the future of New Zealand rugby is something I'm very passionate about.

"I strongly believe that establishing a cohesive team culture where our people are constantly striving to become better people as well as better players, coaches and administrators is the only way to create meaningful long-term success.

"I'm excited by what's to come in the near future beginning with the Maori All Blacks and Taranaki in 2017, and then launching into a new era with the Chiefs in 2018."

Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman said: "We are very happy to have secured a coach of Colin's calibre to lead the Chiefs into our 2018 campaign.

"He has a proven track record at international, Super Rugby and provincial levels and we have every confidence he will enhance the legacy Dave Rennie and his team have established here at the Chiefs.

"The fact he is a home grown coach and is passionate about nurturing young talent will continue to give us a competitive edge."