Tokyo - Former Wallabies boss Robbie Deans will become the head coach of
Japan's Top League and national champions Panasonic Wild Knights on May
1, the club said on Tuesday.
Deans, who has also managed the
Christchurch-based Crusaders and served as an All Blacks assistant
coach, will take over from Norifumi Nakajima, who is transferring to
another part of the giant electronics firm.
Nakajima spent three seasons in charge at Panasonic, leading the club to the double honour in his final season.
54-year-old New Zealander parted company with the Australian Rugby
Union after the Wallabies lost the British and Irish Lions test series
2-1 last June.
He has maintained a good relationship with
Panasonic on an informal basis for nearly 10 years, since he began
coaching the Crusaders, said the club's spokesperson Seigo Ikeda. "He has
given us advice every year."
The terms of his contract with the Top League side were not made known.
"I am very glad that I can continue the relationship this way," Deans said in a Japanese-language statement.
have enjoyed building a strong team with Panasonic players, staff and
officials and I enjoyed watching Panasonic play," he said.
looking forward to making the team better still in this fine environment
this season," Deans said. "We want to move further ahead."
coached the Wallabies for six years from 2008, winning 43 times, losing
29 and drawing twice. Australia finished third in the 2011 rugby World
As a player he represented Canterbury and played 19 matches for the All Blacks including five Tests.
A number of names at Panasonic will be familiar to Deans, according to New Zealand media reports.
Jones, who worked under Deans at the Crusaders and the Wallabies as
their strength and conditioning coach, is also on the Wild Knights
Wallaby five-eighth Berrick Barnes joined the club last
year and his accurate goal kicking proved crucial in their success, the
Deans is the second Cantabrian planning to join a Japanese club.
Rob Penney, a former Canterbury coach, is set to leave Munster and join the NTT Shining Arcs at the end of the European season.
New Zealand rugby superstar Sonny Bill Williams briefly played for Panasonic in the 2012-2013 season.