'Keen to get stuck in': Jamie Joseph returns as Highlanders head coach

Jamie Joseph is set to return to the head coaching role at the Highlanders next season. Photo:...
Jamie Joseph is set to return to the head coaching role at the Highlanders next season. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Jamie Joseph will return as head coach of the Highlanders next season.

The widely respected coach, who led the Highlanders to their only Super Rugby championship in 2015 before coaching Japan for seven years, will move over from his current head of rugby role.

Incumbent head coach Clarke Dermody has agreed to stay with the team as an assistant.

"I’m delighted to be back coaching and leading the Highlanders again," Joseph said.

"I am keen to get stuck in with Clarke and the rest of my coaching team next season.

"My goal is to take this team as far as it can go and to build a record of success that we can all be proud of."

Dermody, who led the Highlanders to ninth and sixth in his two years as head coach, said he was proud of what his young team achieved this year but he understood why the change was made.

"It’s a change that Jamie discussed with me and while I am very proud of what we achieved this season, I accept the view that it will be of benefit to the club to have his coaching influence on the team next year," Dermody said.

"From that perspective I believe it’s a positive step and I’m happy to support the move in the best interests of the club."

Dermody is confident the team can develop further in 2025.

"I know there is plenty of growth left in this team. They are all still mostly young and relatively inexperienced players at Super Rugby level.

"We all learned a lot this year and the benefits of that experience will pay dividends for us next year. Personally, I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with Jamie in unleashing the potential within the team next season".

Highlanders chairman Peter Kean felt the changes announced today were a positive step for the club.

"We believe these changes will take advantage of the unique skillsets that both Jamie and Clarke possess," Kean said.

"Jamie has a proven track record as a coach at international level and that experience and knowledge will be hugely beneficial to the Highlanders.

"As a board, we are delighted Clarke will remain with the Highlanders and he will have an enormous contribution to make as Jamie’s assistant."