Highlanders Head Coach Tony Brown is set to depart the Highlanders before the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman begins.
Brown will join Head Coach Jamie Joseph and immediately depart to Japan for two weeks of self-isolation leading into a 14-day training camp for the Brave Blossoms.
The Japanese take on the British and Irish Lions in Edinburgh on June 26, the match serving as a warmup for the Lions prior to their tour of South Africa beginning in early July.
Brown who will still have daily input into the running of the Highlanders, albeit remotely, will hand over the reins on the ground to his assistant Clarke Dermody. He acknowledged the situation is far from ideal.
“Having to head to Japan earlier than expected is disappointing particularly leaving my team before the end of the season, it’s not what anyone would have wanted. I will be in touch with Clarke and the other coaches on a daily basis and I am positive they will respond well to the situation.”
“Even though the Lions match has only recently been finalized it’s unfortunate that the Japanese preparation has been so limited we will need to go into an intense camp almost immediately to get organised.”