(Reuters) - Former New Zealand coach Graham Henry has returned to his roots in joining the Auckland Blues’ revamped coaching roster in a boost for the ailing Super Rugby side.
Henry, who oversaw the All Blacks’ World Cup win on home soil last year, joins as technical adviser and defence specialist from 2013 under head coach John Kirwan, the team said on their website on Wednesday. (www.blues.co.nz)
Prior to his 2004-2011 stint with the All Blacks, Henry coached the Blues from 1996-1998, winning the inaugural Super 12 rugby title in 1996 and again the following year.
Henry reunites with former All Blacks specialist skills coach Mick Byrne, who will be forwards and kicking coach with the Blues.
Grant Doorey, who assisted Kirwan during his 2007-2011 tenure as head coach of Japan, has been named as skills and backline coach to complete the high-profile line-up.
“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,” Kirwan said.
Kirwan, named head coach last month, replaced Pat Lam, who spent four years in charge of the team in New Zealand’s largest city. Lam was asked to re-apply for his position as the Blues lurched through a terrible season to finish 12th in the 15-team southern hemisphere provincial competition.
Henry stepped down from the All Blacks in the wake of the team’s World Cup triumph, but will be reacquainted with a number of his former charges who, despite big expectations, failed to fire for the Blues last season.
Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford