/ Rugby

Gibbes added to Leinster backroom team

Updated: Wednesday, 06 Aug 2008 02:43

Jonno Gibbes in action against Brian O'Driscoll in 2005
Jonno Gibbes in action against Brian O'Driscoll in 2005

Leinster have announced the appointment of Jonno Gibbes as forwards coach to the province.

The All-Black legend has agreed a two-year deal.

The former Waikato, Chiefs and New Zealand Maori captain will link up with the province at the end of the month having represented the All Blacks on eight occasions.

Te Awamutu-born Gibbes made his All Blacks debut in June 2004 against England in Dunedin.

He captained NZ Maori to victory over the British & Irish Lions in 2005 and their successful Churchill Cup campaign in 2006, while he also led Waikato to the NPC title in 2006.

Gibbes has captained the Chiefs for the last six seasons and the back-row forward made 68 appearances for the Super 14 outfit, scoring 33 points (6 tries, 1 drop goal). At provincial level Gibbes played 64 games for Waikato.

Having completed Level 2 NZRU coaching principles courses in New Zealand, Jonno believes his real coaching qualifications have come from working with some of the best practitioners in the game such as John Mitchell, Warren Gatland and Steve Hansen.

Gibbes said: ‘Any player will tell you that the day you finish playing is one of the hardest in your life. I have always wanted to coach in a professional set-up and even though I suffered injuries over the last few years, I have gained a lot of experience working with the New Zealand representative teams, Waikato and Chiefs sides over my professional playing career.

‘Leinster are an exciting team and having watched their progress in both the Magners League and Heineken Cup over the last few years under Michael Cheika, I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with what is undoubtedly a hugely talented group of players.

'Michael has a strong reputation in the southern hemisphere and I have a lot of respect for his approach to the game, coupled with his professionalism.

‘The rugby traditions in Ireland are strong and as the reigning Magners League champions, there is a strong core structure to build on.

'With Alan Gaffney re-joining the club alongside Kurt McQuilkin who has done a good job since his return last year as Defence coach, I am also looking forward to working alongside the existing coaching team.

‘The province has also recruited strongly in players over the summer months and I am aware of the team’s ambition to improve. Rocky Elsom, CJ Van Der Linde and Isa Nacewa have been stalwarts for their franchises in the Super 14 for many years and each will bring their own specific skills and ability to the panel.

'I am excited about the prospect of joining Leinster at what is a hugely promising period for the team.’

Commenting on Gibbes’ appointment, Leinster coach Michael Cheika said: ‘I am delighted to welcome Jonno to Leinster and I am sure that he will play a significant role in the coaching set-up that we have established.

‘He is a hugely ambitious and knowledgeable student of the game with outstanding leadership skills and he will compliment the existing coaching structure in the club very well.

'Jonno has a real enthusiasm to create and work within a strong rugby culture and I know how excited he is by the prospect of working with this team and in our club.

‘Having recently concluded an illustrious playing career, his experience of playing in, coupled with his knowledge of studying the ELV rules will be of enormous benefit to the squad.’

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