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Former Super Rugby title-winning coach links up with Highlanders in new role

By Sam Smith
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Chris Boyd will join the Highlanders coaching group in 2023 as a coaching mentor. Boyd will draw on his wealth of coaching experience to help guide new head coach, Clarke Dermody, and his coaching group in 2023.


Highlanders CEO Roger Clark believes the appointment is a good fit for the Highlanders.

“The teams that Chris has been involved with are known for their attacking ability and he is an excellent communicator at all levels,” said Clark.

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“His vast experience will be a great influence for Clarke and his coaching group.

“We are fortunate to have a coach of Chris Boyd’s stature to fill the role of coaching mentor which in the past has been done on an informal basis by another outstanding coach, Tony Gilbert.”

Boyd’s coaching CV is extensive, having coached at every level of the game from club to country.

Beginning with nearly a decade of coaching at Wellington club, Tawa, and then the Wellington NPC team which led on to an assistant’s role with the Durban-based South African club, Sharks, in 2009/10.


In the years following his return to New Zealand he assisted the Tongan national team at the 2011 World Cup while also taking over the head coach role of Wellington NPC and the New Zealand Under 20s team.

In 2015 he became head coach of the Hurricanes and steered his team to the Super Rugby final but, as all Highlanders fans remember well, ultimately lost to the Highlanders.

He continued his coaching success the following year and again guided the team to a final’s berth and this time succeeding and capturing a title for the Hurricanes. He left the Hurricanes in 2018 and still holds the record as the most successful coach at the Hurricanes.

In 2018, he became Director of Rugby at Northampton Saints. Again, immediate success followed, winning the Premiership Rugby Cup, as well as qualifying for the Premiership play-offs in his inaugural season.


Four years later, having developed a young, high-potential playing squad (boasting the highest percentage of home-grown talent in the league), Boyd led the Saints to another Premiership playoff narrowly losing to eventual winners Leicester Tigers.

Dermody is eager to engage with Boyd over the coming months, “I knew from the moment I accepted the head coach role I wanted to surround myself with as many quality people as I could. In terms of quality, you don’t get much better than Chris.

“His experience and abilities are obvious in what he has already achieved in rugby, and I’m delighted he has come on board for 2023, to have his support in my first year as head coach of the Highlanders is outstanding.”

Boyd is looking forward to the opportunity to impart his knowledge and work alongside Clarke and his coaching group.

“Clarke is a good man and an impressive coach with a willingness to learn,” said Boyd.

“There aren’t many people who understand the Highlanders’ DNA better than Clarke, having played and coached for the club. My role will be about listening to the coaching group and working out where I can add value”.

“I believe my relationships with the Highlanders and Northampton Saints, will be mutually beneficial. With a foot in both hemispheres, I hope I can add value to both clubs by sharing best practice, exchanging ideas, and identifying new trends.”

-Press Release/Highlanders


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