Tony Eion Brown, born on January 17, 1975, is a former New Zealand rugby union player who primarily played as a first five-eighth (fly half). He began his rugby journey in the South Otago towns of Balclutha and Kaitangata, representing Crescent Rugby Club during his junior years. After completing his first five years of high school at South Otago High School, he moved to Dunedin in 1993 at the age of 17, attending King's High School.
Brown made his debut for Otago in the National Provincial Championship (NPC) in 1995, initially serving as a reserve behind Stephen Bachop, an All Black-Manu Samoa international who held the first-choice first five-eighth position.
However, he swiftly rose to become the preferred first five-eighth, starting ahead of Bachop in the 1995 NPC final. In 1996, with the establishment of the Super 12, Brown earned a place in the inaugural Highlanders squad.
Although he shared the team with Bachop that year, Brown showcased his skills by scoring a try and two conversions in his debut match against Transvaal. He went on to play four more matches that season and earned recognition at the national level with selections for the New Zealand Colts and the New Zealand Māori.
Throughout his career, Brown played 71 matches for Otago and 83 matches for the Highlanders. In 2005, he embarked on a new chapter by joining the Sanyo Wild Knights in the Japanese Top League.
Brown's abilities also led him to play for the Sharks and the Stormers in the Super Rugby competition, both in South Africa. Unfortunately, in October 2008, Brown suffered a severe injury while playing in Japan, which resulted in a ruptured pancreas. He underwent life-saving surgery and eventually returned to playing for Sanyo.
In addition to his club endeavors, Brown represented the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks, from 1999 to 2001. He made his international debut against Samoa in 1999 and went on to play 18 test matches, scoring 171 test points. Brown's international career included participation in the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
Following his retirement from playing in 2011, Brown transitioned into coaching. He began as the head coach of Otago until 2014 before becoming an assistant coach for the Highlanders under Jamie Joseph in 2013. He continued to work with Joseph in the Japan and Sunwolves setups. Brown served as the head coach of the Sunwolves for the 2019 Super Rugby season, contributing to Japan's impressive run to the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He returned to the Highlanders as an assistant coach for the 2020 Super Rugby season and, in October 2020, was named the head coach of the Highlanders on a two-year deal.
Although Brown was linked to the All Blacks coaching role alongside Jamie Joseph, he withdrew himself from consideration as Joseph reaffirmed his position as the head coach of the national team.
|2017 - present|
|1999 - 2001|
|2006 - 2006|
|2008 - 2008|
|Saitama Wild Knights
|2011 - 2011|
|2018 - 2019|
|1996 - 2022|