After a sixth-placed finish in the overall Super Rugby standings in 2018 – fourth-placed in the ultra-competitive New Zealand conference – Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger has been tinkering with his coaching staff, in the hopes of chasing down the Crusaders, Hurricanes and Chiefs.
As stands, the former Leicester Tigers head coach has Mark Hammett as an assistant coach, Glenn Delaney as defence coach and Clarke Dermody as scrum coach. Hammett is the former Cardiff Blues director of rugby, Delaney held the same role at Nottingham before becoming forwards coach at London Irish, whilst Dermody spent time at Irish as a player in the late 2000’s.
In a coaching staff full to the brim with experience of the northern hemisphere game, Mauger is not afraid to add even more.
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The Highlanders have announced that former England and British and Irish Lions centre Riki Flutey is set to come onboard in January as the franchise’s skills coach, as he replaces the Sunwolves-bound Cory Brown.
Flutey, 38, won 14 caps for England, as well as starting in the final test of the Lions’ 2009 tour of South Africa. He helped the invitational side to victory over the Springboks in that test, a match which gave Flutey the then unique accolade of having played both for and against the Lions, having taken them on with the Maori All Blacks four years earlier in 2005.
He featured for both London Irish and London Wasps during his time in English rugby, which followed a stint in Super Rugby with the Hurricanes, before he finished up his career with the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan.
On the opportunity to cut his coaching teeth at a higher level with the Highlanders, Flutey is enthusiastic.
“I am absolutely honoured to have the opportunity to join the Highlanders for their 2019 campaign. It’s a great chance for me to join an exceptional group of coaches and players. I look forward to immersing myself in the team culture and getting the season underway.”
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