Jamie Joseph has re-signed as Head Coach of the Highlanders for a further two years, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and the Highlanders franchise announced today.

The 42-year-old former All Black and Otago representative took up his first season with the Highlanders in 2010 following coaching success with the New Zealand Maori and the Wellington Lions.

NZRU General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said Joseph’s re-signing was great news for New Zealand rugby and for the Highlanders.

“Jamie has helped to re-ignite the Highlanders and their supporters and it’s great to see the team doing so well.  This re-signing will be a great anchor for the Highlanders next two campaigns as they look to push for a Finals berth.

“Under Jamie’s watch the Highlanders have experienced some fantastic results and they have delivered some thrilling rugby in Investec Super Rugby,” Sorensen said.

Highlanders General Manager Roger Clark said they were excited about the opportunity to continue working with Joseph.

‘Having Jamie re-sign for another two years is a great result for the Highlanders and this will allow the franchise to build on the outstanding progress made since his arrival.  He has added so much value to the team and business over the past two seasons, and he’ll be a central part of our next two seasons.”

Jamie Joseph said with just two seasons he had plenty of unfinished business.

“I have really enjoyed my first two years with the Highlanders and I wanted to commit to the team and franchise as soon as possible.  I have been fortunate to have a great group of committed and hard-working players with me, as well as a supportive coaching and management team, and a very energetic franchise organisation.

“We’ve made some real progress over the last couple of seasons, and I want to remain because I have my sights on a very clear goal – to take the Highlanders to an Investec Super Rugby Final,” he said.

The Highlanders finished eighth in 2010 and currently sitting in ninth in the Super Rugby competition with the team on a bye in the last week of the regular season.  The team has a 9-7 win-loss record this season which includes spectacular early-season wins against the Chiefs, Crusaders and Hurricanes – all New Zealand teams still in contention for a Finals berth.

Joseph was Head Coach of the Wellington Lions from 2007 and he took the team to Final berths in 2008 and 2009 and won the Ranfurly Shield from Auckland in 2008 holding it for five defences.  In 2010 coached the Maori team in its centenary year with assistant coach Daryl Gibson leading the team to a clean sweep over the New Zealand Barbarians, Ireland and England in the Sealord New Zealand Maori Centenary Series.

Jamie Joseph’s strong affiliation with the south includes a provincial rugby career for Otago after heading to Otago University in 1989.  He played 68 games for the province as a lock and then a loose forward until 1995.

His All Blacks career spanned 30 matches including 20 Tests from 1992 to 1995 including the 1995 Rugby World Cup.  He also played 10 matches for New Zealand Maori from 1991 to 1994 and later as assistant coach, helped the team to a Churchill Cup victory in 2006, with wins over New South Wales, the USA, Ireland A and Scotland A.  He also has the distinction of playing international rugby for Japan, appearing for the Cherry Blossoms in the 1999 Rugby World Cup

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