Boys on board for 2013, Joseph stays at helm
Just a couple of months ago, Tim Boys was mowing Highlanders openside flanker John Hardie's lawns for him and the thought of playing Super Rugby was far from his mind.
To say he was on the outer, as far as Super Rugby goes, would have been an understatement.
The then-former Highlanders flanker had started his own gardening and lawnmowing business, thinking it was time to look at life after professional rugby.
It was first-choice Highlanders No7 Hardie who, ironically, was his first client.
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph had contracted Hardie, James Haskell and the little-known and unproven Doug Tietjens from Manawatu for the 2012 season, initially leaving no room for Boys in the setup.
Club rugby with Midlands in the leadup to the Southland Stags season looked to be his lot.
Even during the early stages of injury and suspension disruptions midway through the 2012 Super Rugby competition, the Highlanders still seemed reluctant to call on Boys.
Fast-forward the clock a couple of months and Boys now finds himself signed up for next year.
He has gone from looking at life after rugby to being locked and loaded for the Highlanders next season.
Joseph confirmed Boys' signing yesterday, capping off a dramatic turn of events, in which he has gone from being on the outer to being one of 20 players at this stage who are locked in for next year.
Joseph told The Southland Times yesterday that Boys had taken the opportunities in front of him when he was called in as cover late in the season when Tietjens was ruled out with a broken leg.
There had been a thought from some quarters that Boys does not offer enough with ball in hand.
However, he showed glimpses in recent weeks that he does have that ability in his game and no-one can question his work rate in and around the tackle.
Meanwhile, Joseph also confirmed yesterday he had extended his time as head coach with the Highlanders for at least another two seasons.
The former All Black said he was loving his time in Dunedin and was keen to help the Highlanders improve.
He said he has a clear goal, which is to take the Highlanders to a Super Rugby final.
The southern franchise has 20 players out of 30 already locked in for next year and Joseph said there were four players he was awaiting medical assessments on.
The only players confirmed at this stage to not be returning next year from this year's squad were Jimmy Cowan (to England), James Haskell (England) and Siale Piutau (Japan).
Joseph said there was positions they would like to bolster, but he did not want to speculate at this stage on what those positions were.
It would seem they will need to find a backup halfback to Aaron Smith now that Cowan is gone, and there may be an eagerness to go after a frontline prop to steady a scrum that has been too inconsistent and at times put them under pressure this season.
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