Former All Blacks centre Aaron Mauger was appointed head coach of the Otago Highlanders Tuesday under a three-year deal with the New Zealand Super Rugby club.

Mauger said he was excited at the prospect of joining the Highlanders, who won the competition in 2015 and were quarter-finalists this year.

“The club has become a consistent performer at the top of the competition in recent years and we look forward to the challenge of growing our game and achieving great things,” he said.

Mauger, 36, played 45 Tests for New Zealand and made 89 appearances for the Canterbury Crusaders.

After a chronic back injury forced him to hang up his boots in 2010, he was an assistant coach with the Crusaders before joining the coaching team at Leicester Tigers in 2015.

Outgoing Highlanders coach Tony Brown was always on a one-year deal for 2017 and will now join Jamie Joseph as an assistant in the Japanese national team’s coaching set up. – Agence France-Presse

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