Blues opportunity 'golden' – Kirwan
Tue, 17 Jul 2012 6:39p.m.
By Jim Kayes
Sir John Kirwan says coaching the Blues is a golden chalice, not a poisoned one.
The All Blacks legend is confident that he can turn the troubled Super Rugby franchise around.
But he'll do well to heed the advice of the man he replaces, Pat Lam, who says changing the coach doesn't go far enough.
Kirwan made his name as an Auckland and All Blacks wing at Eden Park, and there's no escaping how he feels about coming home to coach the Blues.
“I'm incredibly excited,” he says. “I haven't been this excited since I made the team back in the 1980s. I'm just ecstatic.”
The 47-year-old doesn't believe he's picking up a poisoned chalice.
“I see it as a golden one. I think it's a fantastic opportunity. The research that I've done [shows] there's a lot of good stuff going on and I think hard work is going to be the biggest thing. Honesty and hard work is something I pride myself on so there's a lot of hard work to do.”
Sacked coach Lam says he has urged the Blues board to open the purse strings and give Kirwan what he needs to win and to not interfere with the coaching and selection of the team.
“My favourite time coaching is in South Africa when all I have to worry about is 26 players, the game, the coaching,” says Lam. “When I'm here there's lots of other things that the head coach needs to do.”
Lam feels he has had to shoulder the blame this year for others, particularly chief executive Andy Dalton.
“I feel really proud that I protected the high command. I protected the franchise. I protected my team and my players and I never threw anyone under the bus.”
“I think it's a hard comment to bring it down to one person or two people,” says Blues chairman Gary Whetton. “Pat was the head coach. It was a very disappointing year, disappointing for a lot of reasons, and Pat unfortunately is the fall guy.”
He is a fall guy who will now take his children to Disneyland before looking for another job, while Kirwan takes on the challenge of restoring a fallen franchise to its glory days.
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17/07/2012 7:44:45 p.m.
Whetton and Dalton will be mates of Kirwan so it's no wonder he was chosen. But I remember when everybody wanted the NZRFU to axe Graham Henry when the All Blacks failed to win the RWC before last. The truth is that Pat lam is probably a reasonably good coach, let down by a bunch of prima donna players who can't follow a game plan. A coach can only prepare a team, but its up to the players to win it.
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