Super Rugby

Brown lands Highlanders job

Tony Brown has been appointed as head coach of Super Rugby champions Highlanders for the 2017 season.

Brown has been employed as assistant to current Highlanders boss Jamie Joseph since 2014 and will step up to take the top job next year.

Joseph led the Dunedin-based franchise to their first Super Rugby title last year, but has agreed a deal to take over as Japan coach at the end of the current campaign.

Scott McLeod will stay on as assistant coach, while Mark Hammett will leave his role as Sunwolves head coach to take up a role as assistant under Brown, who will be reunited with Joseph in the Japan set-up in 2018.

Brown said: "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. 

"Knowing that I will have Stormy [McLeod] and Hammer [Hammett] with me was an important part of the decision and I'm excited at the prospect of working with them next year."

McLeod and Hammett have both signed contracts until 2019.

Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark said: "We are delighted with this appointment; we said at the outset that we were looking to replace Jamie Joseph with a proven coach with a successful track record and we certainly believe Tony fits that description.

"Ideally we would have liked his appointment to be longer, however we are excited by the coaching group we have appointed for 2017 and are confident we will find a quality replacement for Tony in the time frame we have available."