June 21, 2021

Chiefs Rugby Club farewell Neil Barnes

The Chiefs Rugby Club bid farewell to Gallagher Chiefs Assistant Coach Neil Barnes. Barnes joined the Gallagher Chiefs in 2016 after coaching internationally and has been at the Club for the past six years while working under Dave Rennie, Colin Cooper, Warren Gatland and Clayton McMillan.

The Taranaki dairy farmer has continued to add to his coaching resume during his tenure with the Gallagher Chiefs. When Barnes joined the Gallagher Chiefs, he had already spent seven years away coaching internationally, including two Rugby World Cup campaigns as the Canadian Maples forwards coach. Following a couple of seasons with the Gallagher Chiefs Barnes completed his third Rugby World Cup campaign, this time with Fiji as their Assistant Coach in 2019.

Barnes who has been a key cog in the wheel for the Gallagher Chiefs has assisted his side making four quarter finals, two semi-finals and this year’s Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa Final.

Barnes will return to his beloved Taranaki to take up the role as the Yarrows Taranaki Bulls Head Coach as they prepare for the upcoming National Provincial Championship.

Barnes said he has enjoyed his time with the Gallagher Chiefs but is excited to return home to take on his next challenge.

“I'm really lucky and grateful for the Chiefs giving me this opportunity, have loved the challenges and the good people I've got to worked with. Despite being a grumpy old man, I naturally tend to get close to my men and the people I work with, probably because I genuinely care about them.”

“When I walk away there is going to be a bit of a hole in my life. No regrets though, I am really looking forward to getting back to my farm, close friends, and family I've been away from for a long time. Having the opportunity to now work with Taranaki, my home province, is special, and I am very grateful for the opportunity I've been given.”

Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Michael Collins said: “Neil has been a great man to work with. What you see is what you get with Neil. He is fiercely loyal and has a great passion for this Club and the game. While this chapter of his coaching career comes to a close, we wish him all the best in his move home to coach his beloved Taranaki.”

Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan said Barnes will be missed.

“Barnsey is a passionate and loyal man who has given his heart and soul to this job. He holds a wealth of knowledge, is detailed, holds people accountable and has a great rapport with players. While he will be missed at the Chiefs Rugby Club, we have no doubt he will continue to deliver on and off the field for the Taranaki Bulls.”

Chiefs Rugby Club farewell Neil Barnes