Henry back at the Blues

Wed, 22 Aug 2012 07:27
Large graham henry 630 Large john kirwan blues 630 Large graham henry posts 630 Large john kirwan   gary whetton

World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry will join the Blues to help the ailing Super Rugby franchise rebuild after a disappointing season.

World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry will join the Blues to help the ailing Super Rugby franchise rebuild after a disappointing season.

The Blues revealed on Wednesday that Henry would work with new head coach John Kirwan, who replaced Pat Lam last month after the three-times champions finished 12th on the ladder with 12 losses and four wins.

Henry, who stepped down as All Blacks coach after guiding the team to victory in the 2011 World Cup, was in charge of the Blues from 1996 to 98, when they won two of their three titles.

Kirwan said Mick Byrne and Grant Doorey, who both previously worked with him when he coached Japan, would also join the coaching team.

"We've got a lot of work ahead of us but I believe the combination of this coaching group puts the Blues in good hands for 2013," he said.

“I'm thrilled with this coaching team. The experience and individual expertise these three men offer is exciting for me as head coach, for the Blues and our supporters,” added Kirwan.

This is Henry's first coaching post in New Zealand after eight years as All Black head coach, culminating in victory at last year's World Cup.

Byrne is currently a skills coach with the All Blacks and Doorey has coached alongside Kirwan previously in Japan and Italy.

The roles attributed to the coaches are summarised as follows:
Kirwan - attack
Henry - technical advisor/defence
Byrne - forwards/kicking
Doorey - skills/backline

Henry coached the All Blacks from 2004 to 2011, prior to that he was head coach of Wales, as well as the British & Irish Lions.

Before heading offshore, Henry coached Auckland from 1992 to 1997 and the Blues from 1996 to 1998.

He was coach of the Blues who won the inaugural Super 12 competition in 1996 and took the title again in 1997.

Henry was named IRB International Coach of the Year in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011.

Byrne's coaching resume includes specialist skills coach with the All Blacks from 2005-2009 before heading offshore to coach with Kirwan in Japan. Prior to that Byrne, a former AFL player, had held similar roles with the Brumbies, Wallabies and Scotland as well as a consultant to the Springboks.

Doorey's coaching resume includes assistant coach of two national teams - Japan (2007-2011) and Italy (2003-2005) as well as Top 14 France. Before his coaching career, Doorey played rugby league in Australia and France.

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