Highlanders coach Tony Brown has revealed he’ll be perfectly happy to give up his position as head coach come 2022 – on condition that former rugby union player and interim coach Clarke Dermody shows himself to be a coach with a “master’s touch” during the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition.
Brown is set to miss all the action against the five Australian Super Rugby sides. This after he recently announced that he’ll be heading to Japan on Wednesday to help prepare the Brave Blossoms for their upcoming test against the British and Irish Lions in June. Brown’s departure isn’t exactly good news for an already plagued by injury Highlanders squad. But even so, the head coach appears fully confident in the Dermody’s ability to lead the way in his absence.
Brown said this week he will always be interested first in doing whatever’s best for the team – even if that means permanently handing over the coaching helm to his potential successor come next year.
Although physically away in Japan, Brown will continue to play a key role with the Highlanders. While he’s handed over the day-to-day coaching responsibilities to Dermody, he’ll put together the game plans as well as review reports for the upcoming Trans-Tasman contest.
The circumstances around Brown’s departure while remaining involved with the Highlanders highlights yet again the head coach’s unique status with the squad from a contractual point of view. Unlike other Super Rugby coaches, he is employed by the Highlanders and by the Japanese Rugby Football Union, and not by New Zealand Rugby.
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