Kirwin to coach Blues

PA Sport
John Kirwin, right, has been appointed Blues coach
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John Kirwin, right, has been appointed Blues coach

Former New Zealand winger John Kirwan has been appointed Blues head coach on a two-year contract, with Pat Lam departing after four years in charge.

The 63-Test veteran with the All Blacks, who was an assistant coach with the Blues in 2001 and has more recently had international experience with Italy (2002-2005) and Japan (2007-2011), will take up his new position on August 13.

"This is an exciting time," Kirwan said in a media release issued by the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Blues. "I am honoured to be given the opportunity to lead the Blues next season in what I hope will be a new era of success and innovation."

He continued: "I'm also thrilled about coming back to New Zealand and home to Auckland after several years overseas.

"I am a proud Blues man and I started my rugby career in the region so I am really excited about connecting with fans and working with the Blues community."

The Auckland franchise finished 12th in this year's Super 15 competition - the worst performance of Lam's tenure.

NZRU general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen revealed Kirwan had been the unanimous recommendation for the selection panel.

"John presented himself very strongly during the recruitment process and we were impressed with the level of preparation and his understanding of what is required to produce a winning Blues team," he said.

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