Super Rugby side Highlanders have called a press conference for Thursday afternoon, at which Roger Clark is expected to confirm head coach Jamie Joseph’s departure to Japan at the end of the season.
The Japan Rugby Football Association had reached a ‘basic agreement’ for Joseph, JRC understands, but have now satisfied Highlanders’ demands in regards to the money needed to release him from his contract at the end of the season. Wages still remain a stumbling block between the two parties.
Despite Highlanders looking almost certain to announce Joseph's departure on Thursday, the JRFU may choose to delay the official announcement of their new head coach until the early stages of next week after the Top League and Lixil Cup reach their conclusions this weekend.
Joseph had emerged as the frontrunner for the vacant head coach post after former England head coach Stuart Lancaster ruled himself out, despite reports claiming he was offered an annual salary in excess of £300,000 (500,000 USD).
Highlanders will still have Joseph in place as their head coach for the upcoming Super Rugby campaign, although he is expected to take charge of Japan’s summer tests against Scotland in June planned for the international break.
Joseph guided Highlanders to their first ever Super Rugby title last year and has become one of the hottest properties in Southern hemisphere rugby since. The 46-year-old spent five years playing in Japan for Fukuoka Sanix Blues and also made nine international appearances for Japan having represented New Zealand earlier in his career.