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Gibbes U-turn and leaving Waikato

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Jono Gibbes makes sensational U-turn to leave Waikato in lurch

Jono Gibbes stint with Waikato will be a short one. He’s decided to sensationally leave the club in November, despite signing a two-year contract.

It’s been confirmed the former Ulster head coach has agreed a four-year deal with French Top 14 club to act as their Sporting Director.

In a statement La Rochelle said “The Club made the arrival of the former Head Coach of the Uster its priority. For his part, Jono Gibbes showed great interest in the Stade Rochelais project but had to go to New Zealand for family reasons, where he had committed for a few months with Waikato.”

“Jono Gibbes has the ideal profile, the club offered him, after reflection, to postpone his taking office to enable him to solve his personal problem and honour his commitment to Waikato.”

Gibbes will work with head coach Gregory Patat and backs coach Xavier Garbajosa. He is due to arrive at the club in November once Waikato’s Mitre 10 season is over.

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“Jono Gibbes will ensure the sports management of the Stade Rochelais, with responsibility for developing the performance of our professional team and that of our training.” the statement added.

Patrice Collazo stepped down as head coach of La Rochelle in May after the side failed to qualify for the Top 14 play-offs. He has since been appointed by Toulon.

Gibbes was released from Ulster on compassionate grounds to return to coach Waikato for family reasons. His visit to La Rochelle days before his sides PRO 14 playoff match soured his reputation at the Northern Ireland club, with many unhappy he was considering taking a role at La Rochelle after requesting a release to return to New Zealand.

The visit even stunned the Waikato Rugby Union who were expecting Gibbes to arrive back in New Zealand. Waikato announced his signature in May for the upcoming Mitre 10 season.

The eight-Test All Black announced in March that he was leaving Ulster at the end of the PRO14 season, and was announced as Waikato’s new head coach shortly after.

Gibbes replaced Sean Botherway at Waikato, who resigned after leading the province through one of their worst seasons where they notched just two wins and were relegated from the Premiership division of the competition.

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Jono Gibbes makes sensational U-turn to leave Waikato in lurch