Jamie Joseph

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Jamie Joseph
Full name James Whitinui Joseph
Date of birth (1969-11-21) 21 November 1969 (age 47)
Place of birth Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand
Height 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Weight 105 kg (231 lb)
School Church College of New Zealand
University University of Otago
Notable relative(s) Hoani MacDonald (cousin)
Jack Macdonald (great-uncle)
Children Lydia Joseph, Maia Joseph, Ben Joseph
Occupation(s) Rugby union coach
Rugby union career
Position(s) Flanker, Lock
New Zealand No. 920
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1995–2001 Fukuoka Sanix Blues ()
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
1989–95 Otago 86 ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
New Zealand Maori
New Zealand

Teams coached
Years Team
Wellington (Asst. Coach)
Maori All Blacks
Maori All Blacks
Correct as of 9 May 2017

James Whitinui "Jamie" Joseph (born 21 November 1969) is a New Zealand former rugby union player and current rugby union coach. A flanker, Joseph represented Otago at a provincial level, and was a member of the New Zealand national side, the All Blacks, from 1992 to 1995,[1] before representing Japan in 1999. Joseph, now coach of the Japanese national side, has coached since his retirement, coming through the ranks in New Zealand before his firs national stint.

Early life and family[edit]

Joseph was born in Blenheim, New Zealand. His father, Jim Joseph, was a prop for the Marlborough rugby team from 1963 to 1977 and also played for New Zealand Maori.[2] His mother Maude (née MacDonald) is the sister of Iwi and Mugwi MacDonald, the daughter of Manny MacDonald, granddaughter of Jack MacDonald and aunt of Hoani MacDonald, all of whom represented New Zealand Maori.[3] Joseph affiliates to Ngati Maniapoto through his father and Rangitane and Ngati Rarua through his mother. He was educated at Church College[1] and the University of Otago, where he completed a Bachelor of Physical Education majoring in psychology.[4]

Playing career[edit]

Joseph made his debut for Otago in 1989, playing mainly at lock, which was the position he was selected for when playing for the New Zealand Colts in his debut season. By 1991, Joseph was a consistent starter for his province and was moved to number six where his athleticism and line-out ability saw him gain a call-up to the New Zealand Maori squad where he played 10 times between 1991 and 1994.[1] In that same year, he was part of Otago's National Provincial Championship winning side.

In 1992, Joseph was quickly promoted to the All Black trials and gained a place in the centenary series. On 22 April 1992, Joseph made his All Blacks international debut against a World XV side off the bench.[5] Later that year, he started his first test, playing at 6 against Ireland. He remained as a regular started for the All Blacks and was part of the 1995 Rugby World Cup squad the famously lost to South Africa in the final.

After the World Cup, Joseph moved to Japan where he played for Fukuoka Sanix Blues. He played for the newly formed side for six years, which saw him be selected for the Japanese national side ahead of the 1999 Rugby World Cup. He made his debut on 1 May 1999 against Canada in Tokyo.


New Zealand


Coaching career[edit]

After retiring from playing rugby in early 2001, Joseph returned home to New Zealand. In 2003, he was appointed as the Wellington Lions skills coach before being promoted so assistant coach by Aussie Mclean ahead of the 2007 Air New Zealand Cup.[6] In that year, Wellington made the final only to lose to Auckland 23–14.[7] In 2006, he was assistant coach to Donny Stevenson for the Māori All Blacks during the 2006 Churchill Cup which saw the Moari team win the title after beating Scotland A 52–17 in the final.

In November 2007, Joseph was later named as the new head coach of Wellington Lions with Aussie Mclean stepping down from his role to coach Super 14 side Hurricanes.[8] In his first match in charge, Wellington convincingly defeated Hawke's Bay 30–6. A further eight victories saw the Lions finish top seed ahead of the Knockout stage of the 2008 Air New Zealand Cup. After beating Taranaki and Southland in the quarter and semi finals, Joseph led Wellington to a narrow loss to Canterbury in the final, losing 7–6. For a further two seasons, Wellington made the play-offs, including a third consecutive final in 2009, again like in 2008, losing narrowly to Canterbury 28–20.

In May 2010, Joseph was named the Māori All Blacks head coach for their matches against Ireland and England, both of which was won by the Māori side; 31–28 and 35–28 respectively.[9][10][11]

The 2010 ITM Cup would be Joseph's last season in charge of the provincial side, with Joseph being named the new Highlanders head coach ahead of the 2011 Super Rugby season in July 2010.[12] The 2010 ITM Cup saw Wellington be knocked out at the semifinals stage, losing to Canterbury 57–41.

In his first season in charge of a franchise side, Joseph's saw mixed results with the Highlanders only winning half of their games (8 won, 8 lost) to finish eighth on the table. In 2012 the side dropped one place, but won more than half of their games during the season. This later saw Joseph resign with the franchise as head coach.[13]

In November 2012, Jamie Joseph retained his role as the Māori All Blacks head coach for their tour of the United Kingdom,[14] which saw the side win two of their three game; defeating a RFU Championship XV side 52–21 and Canada 32–19. Their loss coming against Leicester Tigers 32–24 in their opening match of the tour.

In 2013, Joseph's side dropped to their worst positioning since 1997, only winning three games from sixteen. That same year, he stood down from his role as Māori All Blacks head coach.[15] The 2014 Super Rugby season saw the Higlanders make the play-off for the first time sine 2002, however was knocked-out by the Sharks in the qualifiers, losing 31–27.[16] For a second consecutive year, the Highlanders made the play-offs, and after beating the Chiefs in the qualifiers and then 2014 champions the Waratahs, the Highlanders found themselves in their first final since 1999. A an all-New Zealand final, the Highlanders won their first ever title, after beating the Hurricanes 21–14.

In August 2015, Joseph coached the famous invitational team the Barbarians in a 2015 RWC Warm-up match for Samoa.[17] He coached the side to a close 27–24 victory over the Test side.

In January 2016, Joseph announced that he would be stepping down as the Highlanders head coach after the 2016 Super Rugby season so that he could coach the Japanese national side through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.[18] In his absence until he could formally start his duties with the Brave Blossoms, Ryuji Nakatake and Mark Hammett acted as interim head coaches during the 2016 Asia Rugby Championship and 2016 June Tests.[19] The 2016 Super Rugby season again saw the Highlanders make the play-offs but was defeated by the Lions in the semifinals, losing 42–30.

Head coach of Japan[edit]

Jamie Joseph's first test in charge of Japan was a home game against Argentina, which saw the Japan debut 13 players in a game that was won by the Pumas 54–20.[20] Joseph's first victory came a week later against Georgia in Tbilisi, winning 28–22, this was followed by a narrow loss to Wales in Cardiff - a 79th minute drop goal from Sam Davies sealing the Welsh a victory 33–30. Japan's final match on their November tour saw Fiji claim a 38–25 win at a neutral venue in France.

Other honours[edit]

Māori All Blacks




Sporting positions
Preceded by
New Zealand Mark Hammett
Japan National Rugby Union Coach
Succeeded by