Hammett steps down from Tasman role

Date published: February 8 2017

The Tasman Rugby Union are on the lookout for a new assistant coach following Mark Hammett's decision to remain full-time with the Highlanders.

Hammett joined Tasman in 2015 on a two-year deal when he was part of head coach Leon MacDonald's coaching staff for the 2016 provincial season.

The former Canterbury and Crusaders team-mates did well and guided the Makos to last season's Mitre 10 Cup Final where they lost to Canterbury.

Hammett was also the Sunwolves head coach in last year's Super Rugby competition, but subsequently signed a deal to be the Highlanders' assistant coach until 2019.

Tasman chief executive Tony Lewis said although Hammett intended to rejoin the Makos for their 2017 Mitre 10 Cup campaign, he realised that the job was more demanding than he anticipated and was therefore unable to honour the second year of his contract.

"He's decided that he's unavailable and we've had to accept that," Lewis told Stuff

"It's with great regret, he was very popular with the [Tasman] team and Leon. 

"He was very keen to come back and get himself involved, but once he's got down there, he's realised the enormity of the Highlanders job… he just doesn't think he can commit for 14 weeks [with Tasman].

"It's very disappointing but like players, you want people to go further. We wish Hammer all the best, he was outstanding for us last year."

Lewis confirmed that MacDonald would continue to in his role as Tasman's head coach, despite also being assistant coach at the Crusaders.

"He's coming back, Andrew Goodman's still there, it just about trying to fill that space."