The NSW Waratahs have secured Chris Whitaker and Jason Gilmore for the next two seasons as Rob Penney finalises his management group ahead of the 2021 Vodafone Super Rugby season.
Whitaker – who joined the Waratahs in 2018 under Daryl Gibson – will remain as the club’s Attack Coach until the end of 2022.
He arrived at Daceyville after coaching stints in France with Stade Francais and Montauban.
One of the NSW Waratahs favourite sons, Whitaker’s playing career featured more than 100 appearances for his home state before finishing his playing career overseas.
Gilmore permanently joins Penney’s management group as Defence Coach after an interim stint at Daceyville during COVID-19, whilst international travel and rugby remained on hold.
Gilmore will be relinquishing his position as Head Coach of the Junior Wallabies to focus his attention on clubland for the next two seasons in New South Wales.
Having spent several years coaching in Queensland, Gilmore has a history of developing young players in both a state and national system.
NSWRU General Manager of Rugby, Tim Rapp said that the appointment of both Whitaker and Gilmore were hugely important to the organisation.
“Locking both these guys in as much about the here-and-now as it is about the future of our program,” Rapp said.
“When going through our previous Head Coach recruitment process [in 2019], we recognised the need to create strong pathways for local coaches and it’s something we were really conscious of in our discussions with Whits [Chris Whitaker] and Gilly [Jason Gilmore].
“They’ve got the opportunity to work alongside a really experienced coach in Rob for the next two seasons, further develop their skills and with our support become excellent candidates for roles here or around the country in the future.”
NSW Waratahs Head Coach, Rob Penney said that both Whitaker and Gilmore’s experience and character around the management group would be beneficial heading into 2021.
“They’re both the sort of guys you love to have around your team,” Penney said.
“Two highly experienced coaches – with varying backgrounds – both excellent operators who come to the table with different ideas and philosophies to help shape the direction we’re taking as a group.
“Gilly’s contribution to our defence has been fantastic since he arrived and I think everyone can see the way in which Whits has influenced our attack over the course of the season.”
Gilmore said he was looking forward to setting up permanently in New South Wales after agreeing to terms with the Waratahs.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the group though Super Rugby AU,” Gilmore said.
“It was an easy transition with so many guys here from the Under 20s program, there’s a lot of energy and excitement amongst the squad which is what you love to see as a coach.
“We’ve made some great progress on our defence but there’s plenty more to be done, after some time away it’ll be great to get back into our work ahead of 2021.”
Whitaker said he was happy to continue his association with a club he’s been a part of for more than a decade as a player and coach.
“I had plenty of time away [post playing career] but it’s been good to be back,” Whitaker said.
“It’s been great working with Rob and the coaching group, contributing to the vision of how we want to play our footy.
“We’re starting to see the benefits of our time together as a squad, building consistency in our attack and getting better every week.”
Whitaker and Gilmore join Matt Cockbain (Forwards) on Penney's staff, who was already contracted until 2022.