Former Waikato representative John Walters has been named as the new Waikato Rugby Union resource coach and ITM Cup assistant coach.
The role will see Walters take charge of the Waikato ITM Cup backline as well as serve as a resource coach for the Union - supporting and developing club coaches throughout the Waikato.
Walters spent 2011 as the coach development manager and ITM Cup assistant coach at the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union but returns to the province that he played for 26 times between 1991 and 1996.
Prior to his stint in the Bay, Walters coached the Hamilton Old Boys premier team and several Chiefs and Waikato age group teams. He also spent two years (2007-08) as head coach of the Hong Kong national team and is an NZRU level 3 and IRB level 3 qualified coach.
"I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Waikato ITM Cup team," Walters said.
"I am a passionate Waikato man and am eagerly looking forward to contributing to the success of Waikato rugby."
Walters' varied coaching resume will also see him provide valuable input at grassroots level.
"Having spent a number of years coaching at club and age group level I am looking forward to helping develop this area of Waikato rugby.
I have many established relationships in Waikato rugby and I am excited to be able to use these to better the game in the region at all levels."
Waikato coach Chris Gibbes sees Walters as the ideal replacement for outgoing backs coach Scott McLeod, who has joined the Highlanders Super Rugby coaching staff.
"John is a quality addition to the Waikato Rugby Union staff and brings a wealth of coaching and playing experience to our team management," Gibbes said.
"I am excited to work alongside John and Carl Hoeft as we look to defend the Ranfurly Shield and challenge for the ITM Cup in 2013."