The Highlanders coaching vacancy has no obvious Kiwi contender.

The big names are offshore-Warren Gatland, Joe Schmidt, Vern Cotter, Milton Haig, John Mitchell, Robbie Deans and now Jamie Joseph-nailed to international or club work for the next while.

Assistant Tony Brown wants to stay in that technical role while Scott McLeod has not piped up about his intentions.

It's time for the Highlanders to keep pushing with their choices and exhibit the sort of flair the side has shown on the park.


They should tap former Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie or England's Stuart Lancaster and offer them the job.

McKenzie coached the Waratahs in Super Rugby then won the title with the Reds before moving up to the Wallabies.

He knows rugby in this part of the world, he understands the psyche of players and what it takes to put together a Super Rugby franchise.

McKenzie wants to lead, he is methodical and organized and has a rugby brain to deal with all the challenges of arranging a franchise.

Lancaster is 46, has done an apprenticeship in test rugby, he likes New Zealand, he's got plenty of coaching skills to offer and is unemployed.

He's available after getting the boot from England and being snubbed by the same players when he pitched for the Harlequins job.

Lancaster is a strong organizer who would be able to shape his squad and then encourage, much like the All Black model, the technical work of Brown and McLeod to guide and mould the players.

Both men are coaches, one a leader, the other a catalyst for production.