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Brown to step up for Highlanders

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/06/2016
Highlanders coach Tony Brown © Getty Images Highlanders coach Tony Brown

Highlanders assistant coach Tony Brown will take over from departing head coach Jamie Joseph for next year's Super Rugby season.

Brown, who has worked as assistant coach to Joseph since 2014, will be joined by fellow former All Blacks Scott McLeod and Mark Hammett as assistant coaches.

A former coach of Otago and Japanese club the Panasonic Knights, Brown will return to Japan in 2018 to take up a role with the Japanese national team.

Joseph was earlier this year named head coach of Japan.

Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark said the franchise were looking to replace Joseph with a proven coach with a successful track record, and believed Brown fitted that description.

"Ideally, we would have liked his appointment to be longer," he said.

"However, we're excited by the coaching group we have appointed for 2017, and are confident we will find a quality replacement for Tony."

McLeod and Hammett have both signed through to 2019.

Brown said he was excited at the opportunity in front of him.

"I wasn't sure the timing was right for me, but having spoken to people inside and outside the organisation, I know now that this is too good an opportunity to pass up."

McLeod has been assistant coach since 2013, and while his current contract ends this season, said he was happy to recommit to 2019.

"I get a lot of satisfaction from working with the current group of players and coaches, and with some fresh challenges for the club on the horizon, the best option was to recommit to the Highlanders."

Hammett coached the Hurricanes in 2013 and 2014 before taking up a similar role with Cardiff Blues the following season.

He became the first head coach of the Japanese Super Rugby expansion club the Sunwolves this year.

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