Gatland confirmed as Chiefs coach on four-year deal

Warren Gatland has been appointed head coach of the Chiefs in a huge coup for the Super Rugby club.

Gatland, who will step down as Wales boss at the end of the upcoming Rugby World Cup, has signed a four-year deal with the Chiefs.

The New Zealander returns to work in his homeland for the first time since leaving his position as technical advisor of the Chiefs in 2007, when he took charge of Wales.

"I am really excited about the opportunity to come back home. The opportunity to come back as head coach of the Gallagher Chiefs is something that I am really looking forward to," Gatland said in a statement on Friday.

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

"I am excited to come back and be a part of the Chiefs community with the players, the fans, the sponsors, it's something I really look forward to."

Gatland will return to New Zealand after the Rugby World Cup, which finishes in early November, and his deal includes a break to coach the British and Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa in 2021.

He is replacing Colin Cooper, who stepped down after the Chiefs' loss to the Jaguares in the Super Rugby quarter-finals.

Chiefs chief executive Michael Collins was delighted with the appointment of Gatland, who has led Wales to four Six Nations titles.

"Warren is a world-class coach who boasts a proven track record. With 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," he said.

"Like Warren we are excited for his return to the Chiefs rugby environment. He will continue to build on the work Colin Cooper and his team management have achieved in maintaining a sustainable high-performance environment for the club."

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