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Rugby-Wales coach Gatland to lead home town Chiefs from 2020

Wales coach Warren Gatland has signed a four-year contract with the Waikato Chiefs, replacing Colin Cooper who quit on Thursday with a year left on his contract.

WELLINGTON, June 28 (Reuters) - Wales coach Warren Gatland has signed a four-year contract with the Waikato Chiefs, replacing Colin Cooper who quit on Thursday with a year left on his contract.

The Super Rugby side said on Friday the 55-year-old Gatland will join the Hamilton-based team after the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Gatland, a Waikato provincial stalwart in the 1980s, will have a break to take control of the British and Irish Lions for their tour of South Africa in 2021, before he returns to the Chiefs role for the 2022 season.

"I am really excited about the opportunity to come back home," Gatland said. "The opportunity to come back as head coach of the Chiefs is something that I am really looking forward to."

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ian Ransom)

((Greg.Stutchbury@thomsonreuters.com; +64 4 802-8162; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging: greg.stutchbury.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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