Rugby: Harlequins name former Bath boss Matson as new head coach

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Premiership Play-Off Final - Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins

(Reuters) - Harlequins have named Tabai Matson as their new head coach for the 2021-22 season after he stepped down as the New Zealand Under-20 coach, the Premiership champions said on Friday.

Matson, who played as a centre for New Zealand's All Blacks and Fiji during the 1990s, previously worked in the Premiership as the Bath coach in 2016.

He joins Harlequins after they were crowned Premiership champions for the first time in nine years last weekend, after a 40-38 win over the Exeter Chiefs in the final at Twickenham.

The 48-year-old's appointment comes after coach Paul Gustard left Harlequins in January, with the assistant coaches leading the team to the title.

"I’m really excited to join Harlequins," Matson said in a statement. "I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching them go from strength to strength this season from New Zealand.

"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."

Matson previously also worked with the Canterbury Crusaders and the Waikato Chiefs in New Zealand's Super Rugby competition.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)