Why the Highlanders were such Mauger flops
REACTION: The Highlanders are a classic example of how some great players can’t convert their class into coaching success.
New Highlanders coach Tony Brown had a subtle dig at Aaron Mauger, saying the team lost their identity during his tenure.
Mauger was dumped as head coach of the Highlanders in September, after three years in charge – following an internal review at the end of this year’s Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Brown, who served as attack coach under Mauger this year, says the Dunedin franchise needs to rediscover its “identity”, something he believes they’ve lost in the last few years.
“I just think it’s really important that we create an identity that’s [the] Highlanders,” Brown said.
“I think potentially we might have lost a little bit of that over the last few years.
“I want to take us back to that identity and make sure the players understand that, what the environment is about, play good footy and entertain the fans.”
The Highlanders haven’t managed to replicate the success under Jamie Joseph and Brown, when they took out the Super Rugby crown in 2015.
They’ve since also lost a host of experienced players like former All Blacks Ben Smith and Waisake Naholo.
Brown and Mauger will go head-to-head this weekend when the Moana Pasfika side take on the M?ori All Blacks.
Meanwhile, the Highlanders revealed their Super Rugby squad for 2021 headlined by the return of Liam Squire who is back from a brief stint playing in Japan.
There are six new faces and two returning players in the team co-captained by Ash Dixon and Aaron Smith.
Sources: NZ Herald and RugbyPass