Pat Lam has been fired as coach of the Blues with former All Black John Kirwan appointed in his place.
Lam oversaw a disastrous campaign, the worst of his four-year tenure. Kirwan has coached Japan (2007-2011) and Italy (2002-2005) and takes over from August on a two-year deal.
‘This is an exciting time. 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,’ Kirwan said.
‘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.’
Kirwan played 142 games for Auckland and 63 Tests for the All Blacks. He also had a brief stint with the Blues franchise in 2001 as assistant coach.