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Winless Joseph's job safe

Tue, 16 Apr 2013 19:56
Jamie-joseph-highlanders-63 Jonpreston Scottmcleod
It is a bloody tough job
Quote-end

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph is in no danger of being sacked despite his team's dreadful start to the Super Rugby tournament.

The Highlanders are firmly rooted at the bottom of the overall log as the tournament’s lone winless team. Already out of play-off contention, Joseph’s side, on six points, are nine points behind the 14th-placed Melbourne Rebels.

However, Highlanders general manager Roger Clark said Joseph has the full backing of the board.

''We picked him [Joseph] up a couple of years ago and re-signed him for another couple of years last year because of the results he has managed over the past couple of years,'' he told the Otago Daily Times.

''Nothing has changed with that. The bottom line is the board and myself have got every confidence in Jamie. If anyone can turn it around then he can.''

Clark said Joseph's assistants, Scott McLeod and Jon Preston, who joined the franchise this season at the expense of Simon Culhane and Kieran Keane, also have the full support of the board.

''We selected them because of the qualities we thought they could bring to the role," he added.

"That hasn't changed. It is a hell of a challenge for them in their first year, but they are doing a really good job.

''It is a bloody tough job for them. They came into a new situation and they found themselves zip from seven. They are doing their best.''

Clark also came to the defence of star recruit Ma'a Nonu, who has come under criticism for his form in midfield.

''Personally, I think he has been one of our better players," he said.

"Off the field and engaging with the community, he has been absolutely outstanding. One of the best in the team. To criticise him and blame him for where we are is absolutely ridiculous.

''All of us are trying really hard for a win. I have been impressed by how tight the guys have stayed together. They are determined to turn it around.

''And we have got to remember this is only early days. We are in a competition which goes to July. It is a long season. There is a lot of rugby to be played.''

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