Bryn Gatland's decision to sign with the Chiefs for the next three years was made without the input of his father.
Warren Gatland will leave his post as Chiefs coach for a year to lead the British and Irish Lions in their series against the Springboks. He will return to the Super Rugby franchise in 2022 for the final two years of his contract, with Bay of Plenty coach Clayton McMillan taking over for the 2021 season.
The younger Gatland, who returns to the region he started his NPC career in, says when he started talking to the team, his father didn't want to be involved, with Bryn's deal being concluded without Warren's knowledge.
"Once I was approached [by the Chiefs] and my Dad found out I was being approached, he basically stayed completely out of it and they wanted to completely keep him out of it as well.
"That was kind of good for me. Him not being here next year can kind of be a benefit to me, to give me a chance to establish myself as a player and have no outside media scrutiny. People are going to talk, and I'll try not to look at it."
The pair's contracts line up to end after the 2023 Super Rugby season, giving them two years to work together. Aside from the fact it is his father, Bryn says to play for such an established coach is exciting.
"We have conversations as father and son just about the game and personal things, but I'm actually really excited to see what he's like in a proper coaching environment because I haven't had it. When it comes to it, obviously that will be a different situation for us and our family.
"I'm sure we'll be able to challenge each other."
The 25-year-old Gatland will make up a third of the Chiefs first-five contingent for the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season, being joined by Kaleb Trask and the uncapped Rivez Reihana.
Brodie Retallick's sabbatical means the locking group is rather thin, with 21-year-old Naitoa Ah Kuoi and 20-year-old Tupou Vaa'i the most experienced options.
The team's bulk of class resides in the loose forwards, with Sam Cane, Lachlan Boshier, Luke Jacobson, Pita Gus Sowakula and Mitch Karpik on the books.
Chiefs' 2021 Super Rugby squad: Nathan Harris, Bradley Slater, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Sione Mafileo, Atu Moli, Ollie Norris, Reuben O'Neill, Aidan Ross, Angus Ta'avao, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Josh Lord, Laghlan McWhannell, Tupou Vaa'i, Kaylum Boshier, Lachlan Boshier, Mitchell Brown, Sam Cane, Pita Gus Sowakula, Luke Jacobson, Mitchell Karpik, Simon Parker, Xavier Roe, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Brad Weber, Bryn Gatland, Rivez Reihana, Kaleb Trask, Anton Lienert-Brown, Alex Nankivell, Bailyn Sullivan, Quinn Tupaea, Jonah Lowe, Damian McKenzie, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Shaun Stevenson, Chase Tiatia, Sean Wainui.