Utah Warriors Release
The Utah Warriors are pleased to announce that Australian Wallabies’ legend Chris Latham will assume the role of the team’s new head coach for the 2020 season and have signed a two-year contract with former Australian great.
With 40 international tries to his name, second-most all-time for the Wallabies, and a professional and international career that spanned 14 years, Latham is celebrated as one of the world’s top fullbacks to have played the game.
Latham’s recent transition from player to coach has the Wallabies legend finished his most recent coaching stint with Manu Samoa in the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Having just spent a whirlwind eighteen months with the Samoan National Team at the Rugby World Cup Latham is quick to share his excitement to take on the challenge of leading the Warriors in the expanded 2020 Major League Rugby campaign.
“Having had the privilege of being involved in this great game for well over 20 years it has allowed me to see the world and experience many cultures,” Latham said, “Rugby has instilled lifelong core values that I live by and the decision to join the Warriors was a very easy fit. Having watched games from last season, it excites me with the potential the Warriors have. With the expanded competition and the growing interest in rugby in the US I have huge expectations about where we can take this side.”
Utah Warriors CEO/GM Kimball Kjar shares Latham’s enthusiasm.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have Chris lead the Warriors,” Kjar said, “He was not only one of the world’s greatest players in his time, but more importantly he knows and lives the values that the Utah Warriors are built on. He’s going to be great for this community and will be an amazing mentor and leader to these players and coaches.”
Latham began his professional career in 1997 with the New South Wales Waratahs in Super Rugby before moving to the Queensland Reds the following season where he would go on to make 117 appearances and still holds claim as the Reds all-time leading try-scorer with 38 tries. Latham would finish his career with the Reds being named Super Rugby Player of the Year in 2000, 2003 and 2004.
Latham’s Wallabies career spanned almost 10 years with three Rugby World Cups and 78 appearances for the Green and Gold to his name before retiring from International play in 2007.
He would move to the English Premiership side of Worcester where three seasons saw 46 appearances for the Worcester Warriors.
Latham finished his playing career in Japan with the second division Kyuden Voltex before helping the club gain promotion to the Top League in 2012.
Since retiring from playing Latham has spent time coaching in Japan before taking on the challenge to coach with the Manu Samoa team in lead up to the Rugby World Cup this season.
Latham will be joined in Utah by his family who is excited about the prospects of living in Utah and the opportunities that it presents.
With Major League Rugby expanding from nine to twelve teams in 2020 Latham will look to turn around the fortunes of the Utah Warriors who finished with a 2-12-2 record in 2019.
“There’s no hiding from it, the Warriors desperately want to be successful.” Latham continued, “I expect nothing less but the best out of myself and with the team of coaches we are assembling. I too am highly motivated for success. This will only come from hard work and full commitment by the players, the coaches and the entire Warriors organization. The harder we work the greater the reward will be, so it is up to us as a coaching staff to provide the players the environment which will allow them to be the best they can be. And with the support of the community and Warriors Nation this team will undoubtedly be able to live up to its full potential.”
Latham’s full coaching staff will be announced in the coming days. With today’s news of Latham’s hiring the Warriors mark a pivotal moment in the team’s “Locked. And Reloaded.” campaign for 2020.