High performance coach Jon Preston is leaving his role with the Highlanders - less than 24 hours after the team unveiled Canterbury provincial boss Glenn Delaney as their new defence coach for next year's Super Rugby campaign.

Preston, in addition to his high performance and skills role, has had significant coaching roles with the Highlanders Development XV, the Brisbane 10s tournament team and helping prepare the side for their historic victory against the British and Irish Lions.

Highlanders CEO Roger Clark has seen Preston develop as a coach since his arrival in 2013.

"JP has grown as a coach during his time with the club; he has developed a good rapport with the players and has a very strong technical knowledge of the game.


"He has been instrumental in lifting the skill levels of the group and has been a key contributor to the way we have played the game in recent times.

"He's decided it's time to look for that next challenge in his career. We acknowledge the great work he has done here and wish him all the best for the future".

Preston described his time with the Highlanders as "five memorable years, with many highlights".

"I've learned a lot and enjoyed being part of the Highlanders family. It's been a pleasure to work with so many quality people, see the players' and the team's game grow and to be part of some pretty exciting football," Preston said in a statement.

"For me personally, it is important to keep developing and while I will miss the club, I now look forward to future opportunities".

The Highlanders will seek a replacement for Preston immediately and look to have the role filled as soon as possible.

Delaney will coach Canterbury through to the end of this year's National Provincial Championship, before relocating south to Otago.

He'll take over from Scott McLeod, who will assume an All Blacks assistant role after the imminent retirement of Wayne Smith.

Joe Maddock, meanwhile, will take over as Canterbury coach next year.