Sir Graham Henry, Mick Byrne and Grant Doorey are to join the Blues for the coming season.
“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,” said 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 Rugby World Cup.
Byrne is currently a skills coach with the All Blacks and Doorey has coached alongside Kirwan previously in Japan and Italy.
“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,” said Kirwan.
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 2004-2011, prior to that he was head coach of Wales and British Lions respectively.
Before heading offshore, Henry coached Auckland from 1992-1997 and the Blues from 1996-1998. 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 CSBJ Rugby Top 14 France. Before his coaching career, Doorey played rugby league in Australia and France.