Head coach Aaron Mauger makes Highlanders exit

Aaron Mauger joined Highlanders in 2018
Aaron Mauger joined Highlanders in 2018

Highlanders have confirmed that head coach Aaron Mauger will leave the club following a tough 2020 season.

Mauger joined Highlanders in 2018 after working with Crusaders, Leicester Tigers and Samoa and on his maiden two seasons he helped the club to play-offs.

However, the 2020 season has been a tough going for the 39-year-old as they managed a solitary win from six games in the pre Covid season of Super Rugby and in the Aotearoa, Highlanders had three wins from eight matches finishing fourth.

Thanking the club for the support during his tenure, Mauger said he wanted to take responsibility for the result this year and wished the club good luck on their future.

“I’ve worked with some top-quality people who are outstanding at what they do and I wish them all the best going forward. 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," he told the club's official website.

“Experiences come down to the quality of the people you surround yourself with and my experiences with the Highlanders clan and the people of the Deep South have been amazing and, as a family, we will always be grateful for that.

“A big thank you to the supporters and the community, from our ‘Little Landers’ to our ‘Lifetime Landers’, you’re a massive inspiration and you’ve all made it a memorable three years.

“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.”

New Zealand Rugby General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum thanked Mauger for his contribution.

“On behalf of New Zealand Rugby, I’d like to thank Aaron and his family for the contribution they’ve made to the Highlanders club over the last three seasons.

“The positivity Aaron brings to his coaching, coupled with his commitment and dedication, has added to some very memorable Highlanders performances in recent times.

“He has also been integral in the development of a number of Highlanders players and their progression into the national ranks. Aaron’s work ethic will hold him in great stead as he takes his next step in coaching – we wish him and his family well.”