Aaron Mauger Leaves The Highlanders
New Zealand Super Rugby side Highlanders have announced that Head Coach Aaron Mauger will be departing the club. He has reached the conclusion of a three year contract. The former Leicester Tigers coach and Crusaders player, had an up and down time in charge of the South Island side. They struggled in the early part of the 2020 season, before the season was suspended. They did, however, find form in Super Rugby Aotearoa and appeared to be playing with a lot more grit. Mauger has said himself that results were not good enough and he will now move on to look for another role.
The Highlanders now begin their search for a new Head Coach. Mark Hammett has also left the coaching team, leaving three coaches still in place. Tony Brown, Clarke Dermody and Riki Flutey are all still contracted to the side. Clarke Dermody was said to be expanding his duties with the side, after Hammett announced his departure. Dermody has impressed as Co-Coach of Mitre 10 Cup winning side Tasman and will be in the running for the Head Coach role. The Highlanders have said they will not rush the process. Aaron Mauger will have learned a lot from his time in charge of the Highlanders and will have improved as a coach. He is still young and their are plenty of opportunities should he wish to head elsewhere in the world.
What They Said:
“I’ve worked with some top-quality people who are outstanding at what they do and I wish them all the best going forward. Some real progress has been made in critical areas to aid future success and I’m confident the club will benefit from this down the track.”
“Experiences come down to the quality of the people you surround yourself with and my experiences with the Highlanders clan and the people of the Deep South have been amazing and, as a family, we will always be grateful for that.
“A big thank you to the supporters and the community, from our ‘Little Landers’ to our ‘Lifetime Landers’, you’re a massive inspiration and you’ve all made it a memorable three years.”
“Results are key to proving the quality of the structures you have put in place as a Head Coach. As our on-field results during my tenure haven’t been at the level we’ve all aspired to, it’s the Head Coach who must take responsibility for that.”
Highlanders’ CEO Roger Clark:
“Aaron has focused on improving and developing players and, in that regard, he can be very proud of his efforts and we thank him for everything he has done for the club. As a young coach with a long career ahead, we wish him and his family all the best for the next chapter of his coaching career.”
NZR General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum:
“On behalf of New Zealand Rugby, I’d like to thank Aaron and his family for the contribution they’ve made to the Highlanders club over the last three seasons.
“The positivity Aaron brings to his coaching, coupled with his commitment and dedication, has added to some very memorable Highlanders performances in recent times.
“He has also been integral in the development of a number of Highlanders players and their progression into the national ranks. Aaron’s work ethic will hold him in great stead as he takes his next step in coaching – we wish him and his family well,”