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Assistant coach Chris Gibbes makes ‘hard’ decision to leave Hurricanes

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The Hurricanes’ coaching setup will look quite different from next season with assistant Chris Gibbes making the “hard” decision to step away from his role at the end of this season.

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As confirmed by New Zealand Rugby last month, the Hurricanes will also part ways with current head coach Jason Holland.

Looking to usher in a new era under incoming head coach Scott Robertson, NZR announced that Holland would be one of the All Blacks‘ four assistants from next year.

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That meant that the Hurricanes were without a head coach from 2024.

But, as announced on Thursday, Holland’s replacement won’t be his long-time assistant coach Chris Gibbes.

After four seasons with the Hurricanes, Gibbes said “the time was right to head home” to Te Awamutu.

“My family is the most important thing to me,” Gibbes said. “I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, so as hard as this decision way, it became a simple one.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in Wellington and at the Canes, but I’m ready for a new direction, and I’m looking forward to being home with my family.

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“I’ve decided to step away from my role with the Canes and not apply for the head coach role.

“The Hurricanes is an awesome organisation and I feel privileged for the time I’ve had here.”

But for now, Gibbes is still the assistant coach – and there’s still a job to do with the Hurricanes in Super Rugby Pacific this year.

With just a few rounds left in the regular season, the Hurricanes among the five teams battling it out for a spot in the top four.

“My focus right now is to get this job done with this competition, and that’s all I’m thinking about,” Gibbes added.

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“I believe the Canes have some of the strongest players and set-up in the competition and I know they’ll find some great coaches to continue the work that we’ve done for the last few years.

“The club’s heading in the right direction, and I wish them all the best for the foreseeable future.

“I want to say thanks to the players and the staff I’ve worked with over the past four years and, finally, the fans for their incredible support.”

Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee said that while “miss” having Gibbes around the club, they “completely understand” why he’s decided to step away.

“Gibbo has been fantastic for us over the last four years and added real value to our coaching group and organisation,” Lee said.

“He is fiercely determined, loyal, committed and has a genuine passion for coaching.

“We will miss him a lot but completely understand his reasoning for wanting to be closer to his family. We wish him all the very best for the future and look forward to farewelling him formally at the end of the season function.”

The Hurricanes are set to travel to Hamilton in round 13 where they’ll take on the ladder-leading Chiefs at FMG Stadium on Saturday evening.

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