Super Rugby: Tony Brown appointed Highlanders coach through 2022 season

Tony Brown has been unveiled as the new head coach of the Highlanders through the 2022 season. 

The former All Blacks first-five replaces Aaron Mauger who was let go last month after two-years in charge.

Brown has had a previous stint in the role, deputising for Jamie Joseph in 2017, while he also coached the Sunwolves during the 2019 season.

The two-year deal will see Brown work alongside forwards coach Clarke Dermody who could be a front-runner for the job in 2023. 

"It's pretty exciting," Brown told Stuff.

"I'm looking forward to getting into it next year. For us, it was the logical step for me to take over the head coach role.

"It's pretty well documented that in 2017 I was a reluctant head coach.

"I just felt that at that time my biggest influence on the team was on the grass.

"I still believe that to be the case, but I just believe that over the last three years I’ve developed the right skills and been able to create the right amount of time for me to do both.

"I still believe that my biggest influence is on the grass but at the moment with the Highlanders I believe I can have a real influence on our culture, and trying to turn that into a real point of difference for us."

Brown will continue in his role as an assistant coach to Joseph with the Japanese Brave Blossoms. 

"After our season, with me not having to go to Japan, mean we could have a pretty extensive review of where we were at, where we needed to go and how we are going to get there," Brown told Stuff. 

"These last couple of months have been ideal for that, just focusing on the Highlanders.

"We've still got two months to go before we get any players, so being the head coach it's ideal having that single focus."