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Tony Brown returns to Highlanders

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Sunwolves head coach Tony Brown returns to Highlanders for 2020 Super Rugby season

Tony Brown will return to a yet-to-be-determined coaching role with the Highlanders in 2020.

The former Otago and Highlanders player, assistant coach to Jamie Joseph during the successful 2015 campaign and 2017 head coach has been in charge of the Sunwolves this year, and is still with Joseph coaching the Japanese national team in preparation for this year’s World Cup.

Brown has a reputation as one of the sharpest rugby minds in the game, and has been the architect of many new and effective attacking plays in recent years.

Known as a staunchly parochial southern man, he is looking forward to another term with the Highlanders.

“As most people would know the Highlanders are very special team to me and the opportunity to be involved again is too good to turn down,” Brown said.

“They are a great team to coach, they play positive footy and next year they have some exciting new talent coming through that I believe I can help develop to the next level.”

Highlanders CEO Roger Clark was enthusiastic about the appointment of the 44-year-old.

“Tony is an exceptional coach and to have his talents available to us again is exciting,” Clark said.

“It would be fair to say that next year we will be embarking on a new era without some of our better-known players from recent times.

“Brownie will fit in well with our current coaching group and will no doubt get the best out of the new talent the coaching group will have at their disposal next season.”

Brown will be an assistant coach with his coaching portfolio yet to be finalised, but current head coach Aaron Mauger is looking forward to Brown joining the group.

“We’re all looking forward to Brownie’s return to the Highlanders in 2020, his passion for our club and his rugby intellect will no doubt have a massive influence on our growth over the next few years and beyond,” he said.

“Although there is a great deal of excitement around the future of the club, the current team of 2019 are solely focused on finishing this campaign well.

“Once the season is finished, we will do an extensive review of our program and our coaching set up, as we do every season, and the coaching roles and responsibilities for 2020 will be discussed and finalised post that.”

Brown’s arrival in Dunedin will offset the loss of defence coach Glenn Delaney, who is leaving the club at the end of the season to join Welsh Pro14 side Scarlets.

The Highlanders have already retained a core group of 23 players from this year’s campaign for 2020, including All Blacks Aaron Smith and Liam Coltman, and will look to complete selections shortly.

“The Highlanders will announce a number of exciting newcomers in the coming weeks and will be in a position to largely finalise our squad over the next few months,” Clark said.

It is believed young All Blacks Sevens stars Jona Nareki and Scott Gregory are among the new signings for next year.

In other news:

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Sunwolves head coach Tony Brown returns to Highlanders for 2020 Super Rugby season