Former Hurricanes and veteran Taranaki rugby coach Colin Cooper has been linked to the soon to be vacant Highlanders coaching job.
Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph will leave the Dunedin Super Rugby franchise at the end of the season to coach the Japanese national side.
Last week Hurricanes assistant John Plumtree confirmed that he is staying with the Wellington franchise which rules him out of the job in Dunedin.
Cooper was a Crusaders assistant coach in 2002 before he joined the Hurricanes in 2003. He was promoted to head coach and led them to the semi-finals in two of his three seasons in charge.
Between 2003 and 2011 Cooper led the Hurricanes to five play-off appearances over the eight seasons including 2006 final in which they lost to the Crusaders on a foggy night.
In 2010 Cooper re-joined Taranaki as head coach and won the Ranfurly Shield in 2011 and the NPC title in 2014.
Cooper has also had stints as Maori All Blacks coach and the Junior All Blacks coach.