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New Zealand Under 20 coaching group confirmed

New Zealand Under 20 coaching group confirmed

NZRUDecember 12, 2023

New Zealand Under 20 coaching group confirmed

New Zealand Rugby has today announced the New Zealand Under 20 Coaching group ahead of the 2024 campaign. 

Former Waikato Rugby Coach and eight-Test All Black Jono Gibbes has been named to lead the programme will be joined by Brad Cooper, Jarrad Hoeata and Craig Dunlea as his assistants.  

Gibbes, who has recently joined the Chiefs as a resource coach, is excited for the opportunity to coach New Zealand’s next generation.

“For me, it is a privilege to be able to lead our next generation. We are fortunate to have a talented cohort of individuals to work with and give them the tools to showcase their talent.” 

“As a coaching group we are under no illusion, the competition on the world stage is fierce. It is our responsibility as a coaching group, to ensure this young group have the best preparation to proudly wear the black jersey.”

Craig Dunlea returns for a second campaign with the Under 20s as the scrum specialist, he is the current Assistant Coach of the Canterbury NPC team. Hoeata and Cooper join the side by way of Taranaki, both part of the Bunnings NPC winning coaching team this year.

New Zealand Rugby High Performance Player Development Manager Matt Sexton said Gibbes brings a wealth of experience and success across his coaching career in critical environments across both the Southern and Northern hemisphere.

“Securing the calibre of coaches that we have is crucial for the continued development in the evolving Under 20s environment. Jono’s experience is invaluable, couple that with Brad, Jarrad and Craig, we expect they will be instrumental in the development of these young athletes for their next stages of their career as a professional players” said Sexton.

The New Zealand Under 20 programme will see them take part in the inaugural Under 20s Rugby Championship before heading to the 2024 Under 20 Rugby World Cup.  

“The exposure to an increased number of international matches and teams through the establishment of the Under 20s Rugby Championship will continue to strengthen the next generation and build competitive matches among teams in the southern hemisphere leading into the World Cup” finished Sexton.

Jono Gibbes Bio:
Jono has a vast pedigree as a former player for Waikato, the Chiefs and All Blacks before beginning his coaching career which has seen stints at Leinster, Clemont Auvergne, Ulster, Waikato and La Rochelle. 
Gibbes has seen success as assistant during his time with Leinster, he claimed two PRO12 titles, along with three European Cups. In 2014 Gibbes made the move to Clemont. and in his final season the side claimed the Top 14 title. With a return to home, Gibbes successfully led Waikato to their 2018 National Provincial Championship title, before heading offshore to La Rochelle.

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