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Canterbury look beyond border

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Sportal.co.nz     27 Feb 2013     Getty Images

Former Manawatu and Taranaki centre Jason Holland, who has been playing for and coaching Irish club Munster for the last 13 years, will join with Robertson as Canterbury seeks to extend its record winning sequence in the ITM Cup national provincial competition to six.

The promotion of last year's successful head coach Tabai Matson to the Crusaders paved the way for former All Black loose forward 'Razor' Robertson to assume the top coaching role and Holland undoubtedly will have a big say in directing the backs.

Canterbury has invariably stayed loyal to former red-and-black representatives when making coaching appointments, although former Otago five-eighths John Haggart did assist Rob Penney for three years before Matson replaced him in 2009.

Holland racked up 102 appearances for Munster before becoming the backs' attack and skills coach for the last five years. Munster established itself as a rugby powerhouse in that period, winning the Magners League Cup in 2009 and 2011. The club reached the Heineken Cup semi-finals four years ago and was a quarter-finalist in 2012.

Holland, who will connect with Canterbury in March, said he was delighted to join such a proud, ambitious and high-performing province.

"The style of rugby, and values the players and management seem to have excites me and I'm looking forward to contributing to the continued success in the ITM Cup and beyond," he said.

Robertson said Holland was an exceptionally coach who would bring a great balance of experience after having played both in New Zealand and Europe and having coached overseas.