McLeod takes punt on Highlanders

EVAN PEGDEN
Last updated 05:00 07/09/2012
Scott McLeod
Chris Hillock/FAIRFAX NZ
HIGHLAND FLING: Scott McLeod admits it was tough to leave Waikato.

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Scott McLeod admits it will be tough to walk away from Waikato rugby, which has been a big part of his life, but the opportunity in Dunedin is just too good.

McLeod, who played 17 games for the All Blacks and 69 for Waikato as a midfield back, is in his third season as the assistant coach of the Waikato ITM Cup team.

But the former Chiefs skills coach will leave all that behind at the end of the season when he and his young family move to Dunedin, where he will be Jamie Joseph's assistant coach at the Highlanders.

He will join another former Waikato All Black, Graham Purvis, who is the new Highlanders manager. Jon Preston has been named skills coach.

"I got a call from Purvy three weeks ago and he asked me what I was doing with my rugby, I told him and he asked if I was interested in a position with the Highlanders," McLeod said.

An intensive 2 -hour interview with Joseph and Purvis ensued.

"I got grilled a little bit on the way I do things and my philosophies and Jamie shared some of his and the following Monday he gave me a ring and said he'd be keen to work with me."

McLeod, who spent several seasons playing and coaching in Japan after his New Zealand playing career, said that although it was a big move for his family away from his Hamilton home, it was at a time when his children were young enough to relocate without too much difficulty.

"What was one of the hardest decisions to make was that this has been a lifestyle for me here and one I've grown up with.

"The Waikato people and this town, the way we play, it's a lifestyle, so to give that up was a very difficult decision but it was just too good an opportunity to turn down."

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