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Flutey (38) takes over the job vacated by Cory Brown, who has joined the Sunwolves as an assistant coach.
Both a centre and first five-eighth, Flutey played for Hawkes Bay and the Hurricanes before moving to England in 2005. While in England he played for the London-based clubs London Irish and Wasps, and also had a brief stint in France with Brive. He finished his playing career in Japan, turning out for the Ricoh Black Rams in 2012-13.
Flutey played for England, qualifying through residency from 2008-11, and also played the final test for the British and Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa in 2009. Flutey returned to Wellington and has been coaching at a club level.
Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger said Flutey would add another dimension to the coaching group.
"Riki brings with him a wealth of playing experience. He has played with and been coached by some of the best rugby brains in the world and we are fortunate to be able to tap into that experience," Mauger said.
"His role will be to improve the skills of our players across the board including working with our kickers. We are looking forward to him coming aboard in the new year."
Flutey is looking forward to the opportunity of coming south.
"I am absolutely honoured to have the opportunity to join the Highlanders for their 2019 campaign. It’s a great chance for me to join an exceptional group of coaches and players. I look forward to immersing myself in the team culture and getting the season under way," he said.
Flutey will join the Highlanders coaching group of Mauger, Mark Hammett, Glenn Delaney and Clarke Dermody shortly after the team reassembles on January 7.