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New Zealander named Georgia rugby head coach

Updated: December 16, 2011, 01:06

WELLINGTON, New Zealand(AP) New Zealander Milton Haig has been appointed head coach of Georgia's national rugby team, which is hoping to build on its success at this year's World Cup.

Fellow New Zealander Chris Gibbes has also been named an assistant coach of the squad. New Zealand media reported Thursday that both Haig and Gibbes signed two-year contracts and will take up their new posts in mid-January.

Their first tests will be against Ukraine on Feb. 4 and Spain on Feb. 11.

Haig, who currently coaches Counties Manukau in the National Provincial Championship, takes over for Scot Richie Dixon, who will move into a player development role with the Georgian team.

Gibbes, coach of the Super 15 team Waikato Chiefs, previously helped Japan at the 2007 World Cup.

"We know that New Zealanders live and breathe rugby and we believe that both Milton and Chris will take Georgia to a different level,'' Georgia Rugby Union president George Nizharadze said.

Georgia beat Romania 25-9 and narrowly lost to Scotland 15-6 during the squad's first World Cup in October.

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