Super Rugby Spotlight: Aaron Mauger takes coaching reins at Highlanders

THE 2018 season features the third coach in as many years for the Highlanders, who were led by Jamie Joseph in 2016, Tony Brown in 2017 and now another former All Black, Aaron Mauger, takes the reins.

Mauger, who played 47 Tests for New Zealand between 2001-07, cut his coaching teeth with Canterbury, the Crusaders and then Leicester Tigers before linking up with the Highlanders, who still boast a decent core of players from the club’s maiden 2015 Super Rugby title.

That unlikely triumph might have blown the club’s ‘underdog’ cover but a renowned team culture in the deep south has ensured the strong results have continued, with the Highlanders churning out back-to-back 11-4 regular seasons before falling in the semi-finals in 2016 and the quarterfinals last year.

Here’s our Super Rugby Spotlight on the Highlanders we countdown to the season opener between the Stormers and the Jaguares on February 18 AEDT.

We will run our eye over all five New Zealand clubs and how they’re shaping up in 2018 before turning our attention to the four Australian franchises.