Harlequins announce Tabai Matson as new senior coach after Premiership title win

·2-min read
New Harlequins senior coach Tabai Matson, pictured with Lions boss Warren Gatland (Getty Images)
New Harlequins senior coach Tabai Matson, pictured with Lions boss Warren Gatland (Getty Images)

Harlequins, the newly-crowned Premiership champions, have confirmed that Tabai Matson will head up their coaching staff next season.

Quins won the title against Exeter last weekend in stunning fashion despite an unconventional coaching structure for the last six months, after head of rugby Paul Gustard left the club.

General manager Billy Millard led a four-pronged coaching team but, as expected, has now hired Matson, the New Zealand Under-20s head coach.

Millard said Quins had “identified in the middle of last season that we were in need of extra resources in the coaching department, and left no stone unturned in the process of identifying the right person to fill that role”.

Matson was born in Fiji but grew up in New Zealand, and played for both countries in the 1990s. Since retirement, he has built a strong coaching CV, with the Crusaders, Chiefs, Bath and New Zealand U20s.

“I’m really excited to join Harlequins,” said Matson. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching them go from strength to strength this season from New Zealand. It has been great to see them play with smiles on their faces and with great skill and teamwork. To be crowned champions at Twickenham last weekend was a wonderful reward for the Club.

“I’m not coming to reinvent the wheel. This is a special team with some fantastic people and a great history. I’m incredibly excited to add to what this talented coaching team already has and keep pushing this side to new heights.

“Having spoken to Laurie [Dalrymple, CEO], Billy, as well as the existing coaches, I know we are united in the belief that this is only the beginning for Harlequins. I strongly believe that staying true to our identity - the Quins DNA is critical to how we will reach our goals.”

Dalrymple sent a similar message.

“It is important that our supporters understand that this is evolution, not revolution,” he said. “They should feel assured that across the Club we are putting the building blocks in place to ensure that our exceptional success this season is repeated.”

Meanwhile, wing Nathan Earle has left Quins for Newcastle, who have also signed Mike Brown.

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