Filo Tiatia replaces Mark Hammett as Sunwolves head coach
Last Updated: 14/09/16 7:50am
Former New Zealand international Filo Tiatia has replaced Mark Hammett as head coach of Japan's Sunwolves Super Rugby side.
The 45-year-old, who acted as assistant and forwards coach for fellow Kiwi Hammett in the Tokyo franchise's inaugural season, has signed a two-year contract.
Tiatia, who has also played and coached at Japan Top League side Toyota Verblitz as well as playing 99 games for the Ospreys, said: "I am very excited to become the head coach of the Sunwolves next season and honoured to take over what Mark Hammett built in our first season.
"Next season is going to be part of the continuing process of learning but we will have to face new challenges and need to improve areas of our game further."
"I am looking forward to working with the players and staff I worked with in the 2016 season. We are a young franchise and I look forward to the ongoing support of our new fans who were very supportive in our first season."
Englishman Ben Ryan, who led Fiji to sevens gold at the Rio Olympics last month, had also been linked to the job.
Hammett, who endured a troubled first season with the Sunwolves, is returning to New Zealand to take up a role as assistant coach of the Highlanders.
The Sunwolves struggled in the southern hemisphere's elite club competition, slumping to a record of one win, one draw and 13 defeats.
They hit rock bottom in a 92-17 humiliation by South Africa's Cheetahs in April, prompting criticism from former Japan coach Eddie Jones among others.
The Sunwolves joined the competition following Japan's impressive performance at last year's World Cup where the Brave Blossoms won three pool games, including a 34-32 shock upset over two-time champions South Africa.
But delays bringing in players and coaching staff sabotaged the team's preparations while Jones, now in charge of England, slammed the Tokyo outfit's lack of depth as "embarrassing".