Aaron Mauger’s time as Highlanders coach has come to an end after the franchise opted against offering him a contract renewal.
The Highlanders confirmed on Thursday that Mauger has vacated his position as head coach and thanked him for his efforts over the last three years, during which he guided the team to Vodacom Super Rugby quarter-final appearances in 2018 and 2019 and a fourth-placed finish in this year’s Super Rugby Aotearoa.
‘Aaron has focused on improving and developing players and, in that regard, he can be very proud of his efforts and we thank him for everything he has done for the club,’ Highlanders CEO Roger Clark said.
‘As a young coach with a long career ahead, we wish him and his family all the best for the next chapter of his coaching career.’
Mauger said he cherished his time at the Highlanders but was realistic about it, too.
‘I’ve worked with some top-quality people who are outstanding at what they do and I wish them all the best going forward,’ he said.
‘Some real progress has been made in critical areas to aid future success and I’m confident the club will benefit from this down the track.
‘But results are key to proving the quality of the structures you have put in place as a head coach. As our on-field results during my tenure haven’t been at the level we’ve all aspired to, it’s the head coach who must take responsibility for that.’
Clark said the Highlanders organisation would take its time before making a decision on a new appointment.
‘We have a little bit of time before we need to make a final decision on our coaching structure for 2021. We are fortunate we have quality coaches in Tony Brown, Clarke Dermody and Riki Flutey still contracted.
‘Over the next short period we will be reviewing our coaching structure and who and how many we add to our current group will depend on availability and our desire to get the balance of our coaching group right.’
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