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Flying Fijians Coaches Tabai Matson And Neil Barnes To Assist Chiefs Head Coach Warren Gatland

Matson is now Chief defence coach while Barnes is the forwards' coach. They’s work with attack coach Roger Randle and scrum coach Nick White.
09 Nov 2019 13:09
Flying Fijians Coaches Tabai Matson And Neil Barnes To Assist Chiefs Head Coach Warren Gatland
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians assistant coach Neil Barnes (left), with senior assistant coach Tabai Matson while Ben Volavola (with ball) and Jale Vatubua in Oita, Japan. Photo: FRU Media

Two Fiji Airways Flying Fijians coaches are going to assist Warren Gatland as Chiefs head coach.

They are senior assistant coach Tabai Matson and assistant coach Neil Barnes who worked with head coach John McKee during the recent Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Matson is now Chief defence coach while Barnes is the forwards’ coach. They’s work with attack coach Roger Randle and scrum coach Nick White.

However, it remains to be seen who will overtake Warren Gatland as Chiefs head coach during his time as British and Irish Lions boss during their 2021 tour of South Africa, but the Hamilton franchise now has some solidity moving into next season after confirming their backroom staff for 2020.

NEW FACE

Just one new face will be present in the seven-man coaching panel headed by Gatland, with ex-Chiefs first-five and New Zealand U20 assistant coach David Hill joining the team as an assistant.

Their retentions mark a form of continuity for the Chiefs following their decision to release former head coach Colin Cooper earlier this year to make way for Gatland, who was named head coach of the two-time Super Rugby champions in July.

That deal is set to last four years until the end of the 2023 campaign and allows Gatland to take a season-long sabbatical in two years’ time to lead the Lions to the Republic after successful tours to Australia in 2013 and New Zealand in 2017.

No official word has confirmed whether any of the six assistants enlisted for the upcoming season will fill the void left by Gatland in 2021, although Chiefs chief executive Michael Collins could reveal more details about the situation in a press conference.

ABUNDANCE OF EXPERIENCE

In a statement released by the Chiefs, Gatland said he was happy to have finalised his coaching team.

“I’m pleased with the coaching group that has been assembled to lead the Chiefs in 2020,” the 56-year-old told Rugby Pass.

“There is an abundance of experience among these men and I trust this will provide us with a solid platform we can build on to deliver a successful campaign for the club.”

“It is a great to have David join the fold this season. He has an impressive coaching resume to date; his technical knowledge of the game is second to none.

“We know he already has a great rapport with a number of our squad already and we trust in his role he will continue to make a positive impact.”

Edited by Osea Bola

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