Kirwan beats Lam to the Blues

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 06:37
Large john kirwan at eden par630k Large john kirwan   gary whetton Large john kirwan blues 630

Former All Black winger John Kirwan has been appointed the new coach of the Blues, taking over from the embattled Pat Lam.

Former All Black John Kirwan has been appointed the new coach of the Blues.

The New Zealand Rugby Union and Blues franchise made the joint announcement on Tuesday.

The 47-year-old has signed a two-year contract, for the 2013 and 2014. His contract is effective from August 13.

He replaces Pat Lam, who fell out with his bosses after a disastrous 2012 season - which saw the three-time champion Blues lose an unprecedented 12 games in 16 starts.

Their previous record for defeats was eight in 13 starts and they were beaten semifinalists last year, when they finished fourth on the standings.

New coach Kirwan played 142 games for Auckland, 96 for the All Blacks (63 Test caps), before embarking on an international coaching career in Italy and more recently, Japan.

He also had a brief stint with the Blues franchise in 2001 as assistant coach.

"This is an exciting time," Kirwan said.

"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 added.

"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.

"There is certainly some hard work ahead and I am looking forward to the challenge."

Blues Chairman Gary Whetton congratulated Kirwan on the new position, highlighting that the expectations in front of him were significant.

"It's been a tough season for the Blues," Whetton said.

"Our supporters expect the team to play winning rugby, as we all do.

"The challenge is clearly laid down for John and we look forward to seeing positive results. While there's no denying John has a stellar playing record in New Zealand, our interest was in finding the right coach for the Blues - someone who could coach this team to success and we've selected John to do that."

Kirwan's coaching resume includes head coach of the UK Barbarians (2012), head coach of Japan (2007 to 2011), head coach of Italy (2002 to 2005).

As a player, he represented the All Blacks from 1984 to 1994 (named All Black of the Year following the World Cup win in 1987).

Kirwan represented Auckland from 1983 to 1994.

NZRU General Manager of Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said Kirwan's appointment followed an intense interview process and he represented an opportunity for change for the Franchise.

Kirwan was appointed on the unanimous recommendation of a joint NZRU and Blues panel, which is the standard process for all Super Rugby coach appointments.

"We welcome John back to New Zealand and to Auckland," Sorensen said.

"We know that his appointment will be a popular one. 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."

Both Whetton and Sorensen paid tribute to outgoing coach Pat Lam.

"We know this is a difficult time for Pat who has been a long and loyal servant to Auckland and the Blues and we thank him for all he has given to both," Whetton said.

Sorensen said: "We know that Pat will be very disappointed with this outcome as he had worked tirelessly for the Blues. We will continue to talk to Pat about his future and we wish him well."

Pat Lam made his Blues coaching debut in 2009 having coached Auckland from 2004 to 2008 including an undefeated season in 2007.

His coaching career followed a successful playing career with Manu Samoa including three World Cup campaigns.

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 18 February 2018
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Ricoh Arena
Dragons v Treviso 15h30 Rodney Parade
Mon, 19 February 2018
NMMU-Madibaz v Wits 14h45 Port Elizabeth
Maties v CUT-Ixias 16h30 Cape Town
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 16h30 Cape Town
NWU-Pukke v UJ 17h00 Potchefstroom
Fri, 23 February 2018
Dragons v Edinburgh 22h00 Rodney Parade
Highlanders v Blues 06h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Reds 08h45 Melbourne
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 19h00 Irish Independent Park
Leinster v Kings 19h35 RDS
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
France v Italy 20h00 Paris
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Bath v Sale Sharks 12h30 Recreation Ground
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 1 1 0 0 4
Lions 1 1 0 0 4
Sharks 1 0 0 1 1
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 1 0 0 1 0