Gatland confirms return to Chiefs – but in new role

Warren Gatland will return to the Waikato Chiefs as director of rugby instead of head coach for the 2022 season with the Super Rugby side retaining his former assistant Clayton McMillan in the role after turning around the franchise’s fortunes. Gatland joined the Chiefs as head coach in 2020 on a four-year deal with a […]

Gatland confirms return to Chiefs – but in new role

Warren Gatland will return to the Waikato Chiefs as director of rugby instead of head coach for the 2022 season with the Super Rugby side retaining his former assistant Clayton McMillan in the role after turning around the franchise’s fortunes.

Gatland joined the Chiefs as head coach in 2020 on a four-year deal with a sabbatical clause allowing him to coach the British and Irish Lions through their recent 2-1 series loss in South Africa.

He was due to return as Chiefs’ head coach for the 2022 Super Rugby season but will now take on a director of rugby role.

“The Chiefs’ new coaching structure will get the best out of two quality coaches and that’s a great result for the club, its players and its fans,” New Zealand Rugby’s high performance boss Chris Lendrum said in a Chiefs release.

“Clayton has impressed through his work with the Chiefs last year and with the Māori All Blacks and Warren’s international experience will be a valuable asset in helping him continue his development.”

Gatland’s first season at the Chiefs was disastrous, with the team losing all eight matches in New Zealand’s inaugural Super Rugby Aotearoa competition in 2020.

With Gatland off to the Lions, McMillan stepped in as interim head coach and guided the Chiefs to five successive wins before losing the Aotearoa final to Canterbury Crusaders in May.

The Chiefs offered few details of how the coaching setup would work but suggested Gatland’s job would be as a high performance boss and “mentor” to McMillan and his staff, who would ultimately be responsible for matchday performance.

Chiefs chief executive Mike Collins said it would be similar to the set-up when the team won back-to-back Super Rugby titles in 2012 and 2013, when head coach Dave Rennie, now the Wallabies boss, had former All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith in a supporting role.

Source : The Roar More   

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Jordan Petaia’s quest to become a proper utility player

While he’s been earmarked as the Wallabies’ long-term fullback, Jordan Petaia is set to take advantage of the absence of star Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete. Workhorse Koroibete will miss the final round of the Rugby Championship on the Gold Coast on Saturday, as the Wallabies aim to secure their fourth successive win with another victory […]

Jordan Petaia’s quest to become a proper utility player

While he’s been earmarked as the Wallabies’ long-term fullback, Jordan Petaia is set to take advantage of the absence of star Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete.

Workhorse Koroibete will miss the final round of the Rugby Championship on the Gold Coast on Saturday, as the Wallabies aim to secure their fourth successive win with another victory over Argentina.

Australia earned a 27-8 defeat over plucky Argentina in Townsville last Saturday, which came after two wins over world champions South Africa.

Koroibete has already flown home to Melbourne to spend time with his young family, which includes a newborn, before Australia’s squad departs in late October for its UK tour.

Petaia replaced Koroibete as starting winger in the opening Bledisloe Cup Test after the latter was among a trio of Rebels players ruled out for off-field disciplinary reasons.

But the Queenslander has had limited game time off the bench since.

The 21-year-old said he felt he’d learnt plenty watching Koroibete and fellow Test winger Andrew Kellaway in action.

“Marika’s work-rate across the park, it’s probably second to none,” Petaia said on Tuesday.

“Not many players get across (the field) like him so it’s been huge for me watching him work hard, which has been good thinking about my own game.”

While happy for any additional game time, Petaia said he wanted to move into the fullback jersey long-term.

There’s an outside chance Wallabies coach Dave Rennie could start him there against the Pumas, although Reece Hodge is the more likely option.

“Eventually I’d like to take on at 15 role, whether that happens at the Reds or later this year, I don’t know what that looks like,” Petaia said.

“Obviously the more positions we can cover the better for the team and it’s good for my growth as well.”

Petaia’s season stalled after a quad injury ruled him out of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition and also the France Test series in July.

He has also suffered a serious foot injury and had a shoulder reconstruction during his young career but Petaia said he was now fighting fit.

“My body is feeling the best it’s felt in years,” Petaia said.

“I will just keep working hard and making sure that the strength and conditioning team is conditioning me well so I will stick with that program and not get complacent.

“It definitely feels good not to have to worry about all those previous injuries.”

Source : The Roar More   

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