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Three former AllBlacks appointed to Highlanders coaching team

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allblacks.com     03 Sep 2012     Getty Images

Former All Blacks Scott McLeod, Jon Preston and Graham Purvis will join Head Coach Jamie Joseph - himself a former All Black - over the next few weeks, and begin planning for their 2013 campaign.

New Zealand Rugby Union General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen congratulated the new coaching panel saying that their combined playing and coaching experience would add a fantastic depth to the Highlanders' camp.

"Former players always bring a unique element to their coaching and management styles because they closely understand where players are at.  It just so happens these guys are all former All Blacks -  and it can only be great that the franchise can tap into that experience," he said.

Highlanders General Manager Roger Clark was excited by the make-up of the new coaching and management team for the Highlanders' next campaign.

"Having the coaching and management experience of Scott, Jon and Graham will add real value to our team.  Graham has already spent a few days in Dunedin and will start permanently from 10 September.  Both Scott and Jon will link up with the franchise at the beginning of November.

"We made steady gains and built a really strong culture at the Highlanders over the past two seasons with Simon Culhane, Kieran Keane and Leicester Rutledge, and I know that the new guys will build on this over the coming seasons,"  Clark said.

Highlanders Head Coach Jamie Joseph was looking forward to getting underway with his new coaching and management team.

'I am very excited about working with my new team of coaches and manager. These guys have vast amounts of knowledge and experience in dealing with rugby players and teams; Scott with Waikato and Chiefs and Jon with the Wellington Lions and the Hurricanes. They have all played at the top level for the All Blacks, and also had overseas experiences playing rugby in Japan and the United Kingdom. Graham Purvis has held management roles in public companies, so with his rugby experience at both All Black and provincial level he will be a value asset for the team' Commented Joseph.

'They have all decided to move to Dunedin with their families. This suggests their commitment to succeed is high, which it needs to be given the responsibility we have as coaches and manager of the Highlander Rugby Team. I can't wait to get cracking'.

Scott and Jon will join the Highlanders as Joseph's Assistant Coaches.  McLeod has had a successful coaching stint with the Waikato ITM Cup team and the Chiefs franchise  since 2009.  He has a two-year contract with the Highlanders through to the end of the 2014 season.  He played 10 Tests for the All Blacks between 1996 and 1998, he played 49 games for the Chiefs and represented Waikato 69 times.

Jon Preston joins the coaching team and will build on a skills coaching role with the Hurricanes over the past three years.  Preston also joins on a two-year contract.  Preston played for the All Blacks 17 times and played the last of his 10 test matches against England in 1997.  Preston also played for Canterbury and Wellington at provincial level and notched up 25 games for the Hurricanes in the Super Rugby competition.

Graham Purvis has been appointed at the Highlanders team manager, after a successful post-rugby business career.  Purvis played 26 games for the All Blacks including two Tests  between 1989 and 1993, and he also amassed 147 games for Waikato.