Gibbes, now with the Waikato Mitre 10 side, 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 over the head coaching 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.
However, links to La Rochelle are persistent with a new report by L’Equipe claiming that Gibbes could still join the side following the Mitre 10 season in November.
“According to our information, the track leading to Jono Gibbes has not been abandoned by Stade Rochelais.”
The report claims that an “agreement” has been reached between Gibbes and La Rochelle which allows Gibbes the possibility of arriving in November to enable him to solve his “personal problems” while back in New Zealand coaching Waikato. He would fill the Director of Rugby position midway through the season or else the club will continue without a Director of Rugby.
The open-ended nature of the agreement leaves the “ball in the camp of Jono Gibbes”.
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