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Joseph still unsure about Highlanders future

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph will start thinking about his future now

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Article Published: Sunday 8 July 2012|

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph says that he still doesn't know whether he will stay on with the Highlanders for the 2013 Super Rugby season.

The coach comes off contract this year and has transformed the Highlanders into a team that can threaten the big boys from the cellar-dwellars they were before he arrived.

The Highlanders Super Rugby season ended with a 19-13 loss to the Reds this weekend on Friday as they have the bye in the final round and are already out of the play offs.

Joseph says that now he has completed the Super Rugby season he will take some time to consider his future.

"I'm going to make some big decisions for myself and my family," Joseph told the Sunday News.

"I haven't thought about that at all yet, but come Monday that's the sort of focus I'll have.

"I haven't wanted to deal with the contract until the end of the season and we're at the end of the season now.

"I've got to make some decisions."

Losing Joseph would be a blow for the Highlanders as he has put them on the right track but the NZRU might find it difficult to find a new coach for next year as most decent coaches are already signed up.

The Highlanders lost their last two matches but Joseph says that ending the season on the two losses should not take the shine off what they achieved in 2012.

"We were playing quality teams," Joseph said, referring to the Chiefs and Reds.

"We were playing the best teams in the competition. We played the Chiefs and they're at the top of the table and have beat nearly everyone in the competition and then we played the Reds, who won this last year.

"If you're comparing apples with apples, we're talking about the Highlanders, not the Bulls or Crusaders.

"You see six players in the All Blacks and guys like Aaron Smith come through and become All Blacks from nowhere, there are a lot of positive things about our season.

"But ultimately it is my responsibility to make sure we're winning every week and falling off these last two games, which were winnable, is disappointing."

Joseph said that the Highlanders injury toll throughout the season was eventually decisive.

"You don't talk about these sorts of things during the season because indirectly it undermines the side, but we did have a lot of injuries to our team," he said.

The side lacked depth last year and addressed the issue, but injuries took them back to square one.

"If you look at our first game this year, we had Kendrick Lynn out with a broken neck, Siale Piutau with a broken ankle, Jarrad Hoeata out for eight weeks with a pectoral muscle, then there was Colin Slade and Lima Sopoaga out.

"But we went out there and won our first four games and that shows a bit of character from our side, but ultimately, over the course of a long season, it really does take its toll."

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