Tony Brown has opened up on the decision to stick with Japan rather than chase a role with the All Blacks, after he and Jamie Joseph re-signed with the Brave Blossoms.
After impressing during his stint with Japan, culminating in a quarter-final appearance at this year's Rugby World Cup, Brown became one of the most wanted men in Kiwi coaching circles.
All Blacks candidates Ian Foster and Scott Robertson both wanted him as attack coach in their respective pitches to replace Steve Hansen.
However, as Jamie Joseph stunned New Zealand Rugby by re-committing to Japan, Brown followed suit, and will stay with the Brave Blossoms through until 2023.
Speaking to the Otago Daily Times, Brown revealed his and Joseph had opted to try and create more history with a Japan side on the rise.
"A couple of days before he [Joseph] pulled out [of the All Blacks job], we had a catch-up and he said, 'This is what I am thinking'," Brown said.
"And I was really comfortable with that because deep down that is what I was thinking – the same thing.
"Coaching Japan over the All Blacks for me is an exciting challenge.
"I feel like I owe them a lot. Been there since 2004. Love the country and love the people. Anyone who goes to Japan say the people are amazing and they are."
Brown added that the chance to return to the Highlanders in Super Rugby was another reason for wanting to turn down the chance of an All Blacks role.
"Also it allows me to stay here and keep coaching the Highlanders which I love doing. To get this group of players into title contention."