With a year left on his contract, Colin Cooper has opted to quit his role as head coach of the Chiefs to spend more time with his family.

Chiefs coach Cooper steps down

The Chiefs have announced that head coach Colin Cooper has stepped down after requesting an early release from his contract.

Cooper, who had 12 months left to run on his three-year deal, has resigned in order to spend more time with his family.

The news comes less than a week after the Chiefs were beaten by the Jaguares in the Super Rugby quarter-finals – the second time in as many seasons Cooper's side have exited at that stage of the play-offs.

"The role of the head coach has evolved so much over the past five or six years. My passion is 'hands-on' on-the-field coaching, but with bigger playing numbers and more staff involved these days, I am getting taken further and further away from my passion," Cooper said.

"So, I will take some time out with my family and discuss our future.

"I believe the team and the club are bigger than the individual and the club comes first. With next year the start of a new World Cup cycle, I believe it is the right time to step aside.

"There is a good crew of players and staff here who are committed to carrying the club forward."

Chiefs CEO Michael Collins added: "We are grateful to Coops for his outstanding leadership and coaching at the Chiefs. He is a proud man who set an incredibly high bar in terms of personal standards and behaviour, both on and off the field.

"We are really proud of the culture he has fostered inside our club and team environment, and he can be proud of what he has achieved with the Chiefs."

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