New Zealand rugby
Cooper named NZ Maori rugby coach
July 23, 2013
Colin Cooper played for the Maori in 1982-83 before suffering a career-ending injury © Getty Images
Taranaki coach Colin Cooper has replaced Jamie Joseph as coach of the New Zealand Maori rugby team.
Former long-serving Hurricanes mentor Cooper restores his link with the Maori side, who he played for as a loose forward in 1982 and 1983 before suffering a career-ending neck injury.
NZ Maori will play two matches this year, against Canada in Toronto on November 3 and the United States in Philadelphia on November 9.
Highlanders coach Joseph announced he was vacating the position in May, citing a desire to focus on his struggling Super Rugby side.
Cooper will work with two assistant coaches - NPC-winning Canterbury coach Tabai Matson and new Waikato co-coach Carl Hoeft. Both also have assistant duties in Super Rugby for the Crusaders and Chiefs respectively.
The 54-year-old coached Taranaki in two stints from 1999 to 2002, and since 2010. He was the Hurricanes' head coach from 2003 to 2010, guiding them to the semi-finals in five out of eight seasons. He also coached the New Zealand Colts in 2001 and was co-coach of the Junior All Blacks from 2005 to 2009.