Highlanders call-up surprises Preston
Even Jon Preston was surprised when Jamie Joseph asked him to join him at the Highlanders.
A former All Blacks halfback and first five-eighth, Preston, who donned Canterbury colours early in his playing career, says he had little idea of the plans Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph was brewing-up in Dunedin until he got a phone call.
“It had happened fairly recently actually - Jamie rang me out of the blue and asked if I was interested," Preston said. “And of course we started talking. It's exciting.
“To get an opportunity like this - they don't necessarily come along that often. So you grab it and go for it."
Although Preston, who played 17 matches for the All Blacks and also represented Wellington and the Hurricanes between 1993 and 1998, has been a regular fixture with Sky TV as a rugby analyst this will be his first professional coaching job.
His new role, which is yet to be formalised by Joseph but is likely to involve improving players' skills and helping new backs coach Scott McLeod, will require him to stand-down from commentating during the Super Rugby season.
After leaving New Zealand in late 1998 Preston played in the northern hemisphere. He later returned to live in Christchurch and gained some prominence as an astute TV analyst.
He had some involvement at coaching in the Burnside club but that was restricted by work commitments. He has also recently been employed as a skills coach with the Hurricanes.
“I have never been away from rugby for any period. I have always had some involvement with it, one way or another."
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