Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus’ move to bring Tony Brown on board as the world champions’ new attack coach has been hailed as a masterstroke by Highlanders boss Jamie Joseph.
Joseph knows the value which Brown brings to any coaching staff having worked with the former All Blacks fly-half for most of his coaching career.
Brown, 49, was Joseph’s assistant at two Rugby World Cups with Japan – in 2019 and 2023 – and when the Highlanders were crowned Super Rugby champions in 2015.
New position at the Highlanders
Joseph applied for the All Blacks head coaching position but lost out to Scott Robertson which led to him returning to the Highlanders – after last year’s World Cup in France – where he was appointed as the Dunedin-based franchise’s head of rugby on a four-year contract.
Earlier this week, Springboks legends Schalk Burger and Jean de Villiers praised Erasmus for adding Brown to the backroom staff, especially due to his reputation as a creative thinker.
However, former All Blacks back-row Joseph believes while Brown will do wonders for the Boks on the field, he will also bring an extra dimension to them off the field of play.
“He’s renowned for his innovation on the field, around the game, and there’s so many examples of that,” Joseph told Stuff. “The Highlanders, in Japan… it’s easy to actually measure the impact he has on the field.
“But it’s the off the field stuff for me… his rugby values and his personal values are the same.
“So, that’s what he wants in his players around hard work and integrity and honesty and humour, and balance.
“He’s everything… he’s a good sports person, he’s quite happy to have a beer, he plays golf, he plays cricket, he plays every sport, and he just loves the team.
“For a head coach, he’s an awesome support in that area.”
Brown is set to head to South Africa in March to begin his stint with the Boks as they start preparations for a two-Test series against Ireland in July, preceded by a clash with Wales at Twickenham in June.
The Boks are also set to face their arch rivals, the All Blacks, in two Rugby Championship Tests in South Africa, in Johannesburg and Cape Town on August 31 and September 7 respectively.
Backing Brown to succeed with Boks
Joseph is confident that Brown would fit seamlessly into the world champions’ set-up and be a success in their coaching structures.
“He does it in a way that he doesn’t intrude on a culture,” added Joseph. “He did it in Japan, and he’ll do it in any team.
“The rugby side of ‘Brownie’ is good, but the other part is just as good.”