Former All Blacks back-row forward Filo Tiatia will be the forwards coach for the Sunwolves, Japan’s new Super Rugby team, Kyodo News learned Monday.
In a letter on Facebook to Scots College in his hometown of Wellington, where he has been working as director of rugby, Tiatia wrote, “It is with a heavy heart that I would like to inform you all that I will be leaving as the director of rugby here at Scots College. I have recently accepted a role in the new Japanese Super 18 franchise as the forwards coach in this year’s inaugural Super 18 competition.
“The timing is obviously not fantastic and I want to apologize for that but I am a great believer that ‘Nothing happens by accident and it happens for a purpose.’ “
Tiatia, who won two caps for the All Blacks and played 57 times for the Hurricanes, played for Toyota Verblitz from 2002 to 2006 before finishing his career in Wales with the Ospreys.
He returned to Japan in 2012 as forwards coach at Verblitz before taking over the head coach role until the end of the 2014-2015 season.
The 44-year-old also spent time as a spot coach for the Brave Blossoms under Eddie Jones.
To date, the Sunwolves, whose first game is on Feb. 27 against the Lions in Tokyo, have made just one official coaching appointment in head coach Mark Hammett.
Kyodo has learned from a number of sources that Hammett and Tiatia will be joined by a coach from Canterbury, New Zealand, to take charge of defense.