Highlanders assistant coach Mark Hammett has announced he will leave the Dunedin franchise at the end of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season.

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Speaking to media on Tuesday, the former All Blacks hooker confirmed he is bringing an end to his four-year tenure with the club.

“I’m going to move on,” Hammett said, according to Stuff.

“I let Roge [Highlanders CEO Roger Clark] and Azza [head coach Aaron Mauger] know that at the end of November.

“In terms of what does that look like, there’s been no decisions on what I will do.

“I love coaching and mentoring and that side of it. I’ll do something but the decision hasn’t been made yet.”

Stuff reports that the coronavirus-enforced financial implications thrust upon the Highlanders means they won’t be on the lookout for a replacement to fill the void left by Hammett, who cited family reasons as the motive behind his departure.

That could lead to an enhanced role for fellow assistant Clarke Dermody, whose involvement in the coaching ranks has grown since joining the Highlanders as a scrum coach in 2014.

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Dave Rennie speaks to media

The ex-All Blacks prop helped lead Tasman to the Mitre 10 Cup title last year as a co-coach with Crusaders assistant Andrew Goodman, and is signed with the Highlanders through until 2022.

Fellow assistant Tony Brown is also signed on for the next two seasons, while head coach Aaron Mauger’s deal with the club expires at the end of this year.

Hammett said he had no coaching plans beyond this year, although his vast backroom experience could make him an attractive option for teams looking to fill vacancies within their coaching ranks.

After beginning his professional coaching career in various assistant roles with the Crusaders and Canterbury between 2006 and 2010, the 47-year-old has also held head coaching roles with the Hurricanes, Cardiff Blues and Sunwolves.

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