New Zealand mentality coach Gilbert Enoka to transform team culture at Chelsea

Chelsea are set to hire New Zealand rugby leadership manager Gilbert Enoka to consult on matters relating to team culture, the PA news agency understands.

Enoka, who famously introduced a “no d*******s policy” to the All Blacks, is yet to begin work at Stamford Bridge but is expected to take up the role for several weeks while the club’s new signings are integrated.

Chelsea brought in eight new faces during the transfer window at a cost of over £315million, taking the total number of incoming first-team players since owner Todd Boehly bought the club to 16.

Enzo Fernandez
Enzo Fernandez made his Chelsea debut against Fulham after his £106.5million move from Benfica (John Walton/PA)

PA understands Enoka will have a broad brief at the club’s Cobham training base, drawing on his experience as leadership manager and from his previous role as mental skills coach with the All Blacks.

He has worked with the team since 2000, a window which included New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup wins of 2011 and 2015, and has performed similar leadership and team-building roles with the country’s cricket and netball sides.

“A d******* makes everything about them,” Enoka said of his unusual policy in a 2017 interview. “They are people who put themselves ahead of the team, people who think they’re entitled to things, expect the rules to be different for them, people operating deceitfully in the dark, or being unnecessarily loud about their work.”

Blues manager Graham Potter, who gave £106.5m British record signing Enzo Fernandez a debut in last Friday’s 0-0 draw with Fulham, takes his new-look team to the London Stadium to face West Ham on Saturday as he seeks to haul the side up from ninth place in the Premier League and back into the race for the top four.