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Ex All Black Tiatia named Sunwolves coach

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/09/2016

Former All Blacks Filo Tiatia is the new coach of Japanese Super Rugby team the Sunwolves, replacing fellow-New Zealander Mark Hammett.

The 45-year-old has accepted a two-year deal to coach the side who had the worst record of all 18 teams in their maiden campaign this year, winning one of 15 games.

Tiatia was an assistant to Hammett, who has taken up an assistant role at the Highlanders next year.

A long-time Japanese-based coach, Tiatia admits he faces a sizeable task to get the Sunwolves up to speed.

"Next season is going to be a continuous process from the first season but also we have to face new challenges and improve some areas further," he said.

A former bullocking No.8 for Wellington and the Hurricanes, Tiatia played Tests against Tonga and Italy in 2000, scoring a try in each.

He had offshore playing stints with Ospreys in Wales and Toyota Verblitz in Japan and went on to join the coaching staff at both clubs.

New Japan coach Jamie Joseph, who has left his post as Highlanders head coach, says he is looking forward to working closely with Tiatia as he plots Japan's campaign towards the 2019 World Cup which they will host.

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