Hamilton based Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs have announced that former Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper will lead the team in 2018.
Cooper coached the Hurricanes between 2003 and 2010 and has been the Maori All Blacks head coach since 2013.
Cooper of Ngati Pukenga has been appointed as Head Coach of the Super Rugby team on an initial three-year term, succeeding Dave Rennie who will depart at the end of the 2017 season to coach in Glasgow, Scotland.
The current Maori All Blacks and Taranaki Mitre 10 Cup Head Coach has been coaching professionally for over 20 years, including eight seasons as Head Coach of the Hurricanes from 2003-2010.
Cooper has maintained a flawless record with the Maori All Blacks against international sides since his appointment in 2013 and will lead the side in the Lion Series 2017 in June. He will also coach the Port Taranaki Bulls in the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup before moving north to commence his role with the Chiefs.
Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman said: “We are very happy to have secured a coach of Colin’s calibre to lead the Chiefs into our 2018 campaign. He has a proven track record at international, Super Rugby and provincial levels and we have every confidence he will enhance the legacy Dave Rennie and his team have established here at the Chiefs. The fact he is a home grown coach and is passionate about nurturing young talent will continue to give us a competitive edge.
“Colin’s appointment well in advance of our 2018 campaign gives us plenty of time to focus on building our squad and ensure the transition to the new regime is a smooth one. It is an exciting prospect, but in the short term we are all focused on securing another Super Rugby title in 2017.”
New Zealand Rugby General Manager of Rugby Neil Sorensen welcomed Cooper’s appointment as great news for players and for Chiefs’ fans.
“Colin is one of those special coaches who has a proven ability to find new talent and to bring out the best in them on the field. He operates with the utmost integrity, which has earned him great respect from all people he works with.
“He is well regarded by players and administrators and we are delighted that he is extending his involvement in coaching in New Zealand with a return to Super Rugby,” Sorensen said.
Colin Cooper said: “I’m really looking forward to joining the Chiefs in 2018 and contributing to the proud, competitive and successful legacy of the Club. To be involved in coaching Super Rugby again within the ambitious and innovative setup at the Chiefs is exciting and to have the opportunity to develop young players and coaches for the future of New Zealand rugby is something I’m very passionate about.
“I strongly believe that establishing a cohesive team culture where our people are constantly striving to become better people as well as better players, coaches and administrators is the only way to create meaningful long-term success. I’m excited by what’s to come in the near future beginning with the Maori All Blacks and Taranaki in 2017, and then launching into a new era with the Chiefs in 2018.”
The Chiefs will undertake a process in the New Year to confirm the wider coaching group for 2018.
COLIN COOPER – Coaching Summary
2013 – 2017: Head Coach, Maori All Blacks
2010 – 2017: Head Coach, Port Taranaki Bulls (2014 ITM Cup Premiership Winners, 2011 Ranfurly Shield)
2003 – 2010: Head Coach, Hurricanes
2005 – 2009: Co-Coach, New Zealand Junior All Blacks
2002: Forwards Coach, Crusaders
2001: Head Coach, New Zealand Under 21s
1999 – 2002: Head Coach of Taranaki, National Provincial Championship
1997 – 1998: Assistant Coach of Taranaki, National Provincial Championship
1996 – 1997: Director of Coaching at Taranaki Rugby
1993 – 1994: Assistant Coach of Taranaki, National Provincial Championship