Former All Blacks centre Aaron Mauger quit as head coach of Moana Pasifika amid a tough season that has left the side once again rooted to the bottom of the Super Rugby log.

The 42-year-old took the reins of the Auckland-based side when they were admitted to the southern hemisphere competition last year and they finished last on the 12-team ladder.

They are last again with two rounds left of the current season.

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Mauger played 45 Tests for New Zealand and previously coached the Highlanders in Super Rugby and English side Leicester Tigers.

He will remain in charge for their final games against Fijian Drua and the Waratahs.

“I love this team immensely and it has been an absolute privilege to be a part of this special journey for Moana Pasifika and broader movement for the Pasifika community,” he said.

“I have given everything for the cause in testing conditions, but it’s now time for me to return home to my family.”

Moana Pasifika chairman Michael Jones paid tribute to Mauger’s “passion, hard work and professionalism”.

“We are confident that the strong foundation he has helped build will continue to move us forward,” he added.

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© Agence France-Presse

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