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Gibbes extends Clermont contract to end Leinster head coach speculation

The former Leinster forwards coach has signed a new deal that runs until 2018.

FORMER LEINSTER FORWARDS coach Jono Gibbes has signed a contract extension with French club Clermont, bringing to an end speculation that he could be set for a return to Ireland.

Jono Gibbes 12/9/2013 Gibbes is enjoying his French adventure with Clermont. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Gibbes, an All Black during his playing days, was present for all three of Leinster’s Heineken Cup titles in 2009, 2011 and 2012 under Michael Cheika and then Joe Schmidt.

The Kiwi was hugely popular with the players at Leinster and the powers that be within the province, while the quality of his coaching around the set-piece, breakdown and other aspects of the game spoke for itself.

Gibbes left Leinster last summer for a new challenge as forwards coach of Top 14 outfit Clermont, but the departure of Matt O’Connor from Leinster last month had led to suggestions that the province would attempt to convince Gibbes to return as their new head coach.

Clermont have acted swiftly to ensure they keep their man by tying Gibbes down to a new contract that extends until June 2018, with head coach Franck Azéma also agreeing to a fresh deal that keeps him at the club for the same period.

Clermont have enjoyed a strong season and are currently preparing for Saturday’s Top 14 semi-final against Toulouse, having been beaten in the Champions Cup final by Toulon in early May.

Jono Gibbes The 38-year-old is well liked at ASM. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Gibbes has won over the playing staff, supporters and dirigeants at the Auvergne-based club with his intelligent style of coaching. With Leinster possibly eyeing the man who had helped them to such glory in the past, ASM have made a decisive move.

“We’ve built a solid, constructive working relationship with Franck and the staff here,” said Gibbes in an official club statement. “I’m very happy to be able to continue our collaboration for such a period [three years], where we’ll have the chance to further build our relationship and help the team towards the highest level possible.

“It’s also a family decision because we really like the Auvergne; the personal side of things is exceptional, as well as the sporting side. For me, it’s been a really positive experience and I’m really happy to continue with it.”

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Murray Kinsella

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