Brown appointed to second stint as Highlanders' head coach

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Former Otago Highlanders stalwart Tony Brown has been appointed as new head coach for a second stint in charge of the team.

Brown replaces Aaron Mauger, whose three-year contract had expired at the end of the domestic Super Rugby Aotearoa competition in August and was not renewed.

The 45-year-old Brown returned to Dunedin this year to work as an assistant to Mauger, having spent three seasons in Japan, where he worked an assistant to Jamie Joseph for the national team.

“In making this decision we were mindful of Tony’s previous experience as the Highlanders head coach and his tremendous success with the Brave Blossoms at last year’s World Cup,” Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark said on Tuesday.

“We are confident he is the best man for the job.”

Brown was an assistant to Joseph for three seasons at the Highlanders before he took on the head coaching role in 2017, then joined Joseph full time with the Japan national team.

He was also head coach of the Japan-based Sunwolves in 2019 before returning to New Zealand after last year’s Rugby World Cup, where he again linked with the Highlanders.

“As a coach you are always learning and I would like to think I am a better coach now that I was in 2017,” Brown said.

“As a team if we play our style of rugby, with the right attitude then we can certainly be successful.”

Brown played 18 tests for the All Blacks from 1999-2001. He also played Super Rugby for the Stormers and Sharks in South Africa and club rugby in Japan.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Christian Radnedge