New role for Warren Gatland at the Chiefs

Date published: September 28 2021 - News Desk

The Chiefs have announced a new coaching structure which will see the returning Warren Gatland appointed to the new position of director of rugby, and Clayton McMillan appointed head coach for the 2022 season.

McMillan took on that role during the 2021 campaign while Gatland was absent and Chiefs CEO Mike Collins was delighted that they were able to retain the duo.

“Gatty’s vast experience and knowledge from provincial, Super and international rugby means he is uniquely placed to help develop Clayton as a head coach and support our wider coaching framework,” Collins said.

“Clayton demonstrated this year both with the Chiefs in Super Rugby Aotearoa and with the Māori All Blacks that he is ready to progress. This structure allows us to get the best from both coaches.”

Similar to the Chiefs’ Super Rugby-winning structure

Collins said the director of rugby role was new and would focus on supporting the coaching staff and shaping and growing the rugby programme and high-performance programme.

The new structure is similar to the set up when the Chiefs won back-to-back Super Rugby titles in 2012 and 2013, when head coach Dave Rennie had former All Blacks coach Wayne Smith in a supporting role.

“We are stoked that both coaches have bought into this new approach, are keen to work together and that the new structure will allow both of them, and the club, to grow and develop,” Collins added.

Gatland, who returned from leading a record-setting third tour to the southern hemisphere as British & Irish Lions boss, is looking forward to returning to the Chiefs environment and contributing to the club’s development in a different role.

“No one was prouder than I was with the gains made by the Chiefs during 2021. It was outstanding to see both individuals and the group grow and achieve success and that includes Clayton, who brought his vision and mana to the head coach role,” he said.

“I am excited at the prospect of working with Clayton and the other coaches to build on those foundations as we strive for success in the new Super Rugby Pacific in 2022.”

McMillan added: “Having lived my life in the Chiefs region, I am a Chiefs club man through and through and like Gats I want to see the Chiefs back at the top of the Super Rugby table.

“As I have said previously, we complement each other well and one of the major attractions for me when I joined the club was to work alongside Gats and benefit from his immense knowledge and experience. We are committed to working together to position the Chiefs for sustained success and I can’t wait to get started.”