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Gibbes named new Wellington rugby coach

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/01/2017
Chris Gibbes © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Chris Gibbes

Former Waikato coach Chris Gibbes is returning to New Zealand to coach Wellington in next year's national provincial rugby championship.

The 43-year-old, who has signed on for a three-year term, is heading home after four successful years as forwards coach at top Welsh club Ospreys.

Gibbes, who was New Zealand under-20 assistant coach in 2013, said the opportunity to resume his career on home soil with one of the country's premier provincial unions was too good to pass up.

"I've been away from home for nearly four years now, so when this exciting opportunity came up it seemed like the right time for me," he said.

"It was too good to turn down."

Gibbes guided Waikato to back-to-back national provincial championship finals in 2010 and 2011 before bringing the Ranfurly Shield back to Hamilton in 2012.

He replaces Earl Va'a , who resigned in November last year after two years in the job.

Wellington have made the play-offs in the second-tier championship division for the last two years, beaten by Hawke's Bay in the 2015 final and by North Harbour in the semi-finals last year.

Va'a will take on the role of Wellington Rugby Academy manager from Darren Larsen, who has accepted a new job with the Hurricanes as the Super Rugby champion's recruitment and development manager.

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