December 12, 2023

Former Chiefs captains return to the club

Former Waikato, Chiefs and Māori All Blacks captains Jono Gibbes and Liam Messam have returned to their roots with new roles at the Chiefs Rugby Club.

Both greats of the game will share their expertise across the Chiefs Development Pathways programme and work closely with the University of Waikato Chiefs Under 20s, Gallagher Chiefs and Chiefs Manawa teams.

Gibbes will be a valuable Resource Coach for the club and Head Coach of the Chiefs Development XV, meanwhile, Messam will be an Athlete Development Coach with a particular focus on off-field mentoring of players.

Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Simon Graafhuis is thrilled to have Gibbes and Messam rejoin the club.

“To have the expertise of Jono and Liam mentoring and developing our future and current Chiefs will be a true asset to the club.

“We know that identifying, capturing and nurturing the abundance of talent within our region is key to our lasting success and Jono will be instrumental in establishing a rugby development framework to ensure we do this effectively.”

Gibbes had a decorated playing career in New Zealand but has predominantly based himself in the northern hemisphere since retiring to focus on his coaching. He has led multiple teams in Ireland and France, including two stints with the French Top 14 team Clermont.

Similarly, Messam has plied his trade in Japan and France as a player in recent years before returning to New Zealand during Covid-19 to reconnect with Waikato for Bunnings NPC.

“As our most capped Chief, Liam is a legend of the club and to have him continue his close involvement with us is fantastic,” said Graafhuis.

“As leaders who have already tread the path many of our young players are looking to follow, Jono and Liam are respected and best suited to help them achieve their goals. We look forward to seeing the influence they have on our players and environment within their new roles.”

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Former Chiefs captains return to the club