Matt Sexton has quit as the Southern Kings' head rugby coach in South Africa and will return to New Zealand.
Sexton, who has been in Port Elizabeth since 2012 overseeing the Kings' introduction to Super Rugby, said he had made the decision for personal reasons.
"This has been a very difficult decision for me, but due to personal reasons, I have had to make the difficult choice to return home to my family in New Zealand," he said.
"The circumstances back home require me to be there."
Sexton is a former Canterbury and Crusaders forward who has turned to coaching.
The Kings had some exciting moments during their debut Super Rugby season this year but still finished last, winning just three of their 16 games.
They have been a political football in South Africa, forced to play a promotion-relegation series with the Johannesburg-based Lions in August which they lost, leaving them in limbo.
But the Kings look set to continue long-term as the republic pushes to have their quota of Super Rugby teams extended from five to six franchises in changes from 2015.
Sexton sees a strong future for the Kings as they operate out of the Eastern Cape, a long-time rugby stronghold for the country's black and coloured community.
"I have really enjoyed my stay in South Africa and working with the Southern and EP Kings over the past two years," he said in a statement.
"There is definitely a wealth of talent in the region, and I am sure that EP Rugby will be making an impact on the world stage in the years to come."
Eastern Province Rugby chief executive Charl Crous said Sexton had been contracted with the union until the end of 2014 and had been looking to extend his contract through to 2015.
"Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, Matt's time with EP Rugby has come to an early end, but we support him wholeheartedly with his move back to New Zealand," Crous said.
"Matt has been a great asset to the union, and has brought a wealth of experience to the team.
"He has worked tirelessly over the past two years and has managed to accomplish what few thought possible, and played an integral part in the success of the Southern Kings in our debut season in Super Rugby."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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