Chiefs confirm coaching staff

Date published: June 30 2015

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The Chiefs have confirmed their coaching staff for the next two Super Rugby seasons. 

Current coaches Dave Rennie and Andrew Strawbridge will be joined by Tasman ITM Cup coach Kieran Keane and Canada’s national forwards coach Neil Barnes.

Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman said: "We are well aware of the importance of having a world class coaching group to succeed in this competition.

“I have no doubt that our management team for the next few years are capable of continuing the Chiefs legacy of on-field success given the mix of coaching skill-sets and experience they possess.”  

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie is delighted with his new management team. 

“I’m really looking forward to working with KK and Barnsey," he told the Chiefs' official website.

"They are bloody good men, experienced and innovative coaches who are prepared to challenge and work hard. They’ll fit in well here."

Current Chiefs assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge extended his contract for two years.  He said: “My family and I are very settled here and I love coaching the Chiefs, and am keen to win more titles. 

“I am excited at the prospect of working with two new coaches. I have worked with them both before and have a lot of respect for them.”

Kieran Keane is in his seventh season with the Tasman Makos. He led them to an ITM Cup Championship victory and promotion into the Premiership in 2013 and took the side to the ITM Cup Premiership finals the following year. 

Keane has coached the New Zealand U16 and U17 age grade sides for seven years and the Marlborough and Hawkes Bay NPC sides. 

He played six matches for the All Blacks in 1979 and also represented Canterbury as first five and second five-eighth for 10 seasons and played for New Zealand Universities.

“I have always had higher coaching aspirations and the Chiefs are an ideal choice for me career and culture wise,” he said.

“I was invited up to talk with Dave Rennie and Andrew Strawbridge and see the environment first-hand. 

"I liked what I saw and was impressed by their organisation, coaching staff and values.  I have also worked with their CEO and know some of the players pretty well from New Zealand age grade sides and Tasman.”

Rugby is a passion not a job for dairy farmer Neil Barnes from Taranaki. 

The Canadian forwards coach has spent seven years with the Maple Leafs and has toiled away in a thorough coaching apprenticeship. 

He has won seven club rugby titles with New Plymouth Old Boys, been the assistant coach for the Taranaki provincial side and the Hurricanes Colts assistant coach with Dave Rennie.  The 57-year-old also represented Taranaki for a few matches at lock. 

 “I have supported the Chiefs since they gave Craig Clarke an opportunity as he was one of my favourite players,” he said. 

 “I feel the Chiefs are a good fit for me and I like their style both on and off the field.

“I enjoyed working with Dave Rennie previously and we work well as a team.  I have a lot of respect for Dave and was pretty excited about the opportunity to be involved with a Super Rugby team.”

Keane will take up his new role at the Chiefs at the conclusion of the 2015 ITM Cup campaign with Tasman. Barnes will join the Chiefs after his World Cup commitments with Canada. 

Andrew Strawbridge will reassemble with the Chiefs post his World Cup assistant coaching role with Samoa.

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