Kirwan looking to restore Blues to glory
Wed, 18 Jul 2012 8:04a.m.
By 3 News online staff
The Blues’ Super Rugby season of woe is finally over and it didn’t take long for the franchise to shift its focus to next year.
Former All Black Sir John Kirwan has been announced as the successor to Pat Lam, after his team posted a four win, 12 loss record in the 2012 season.
Kirwan was an assistant coach to the Blues in 2001 – when the team posted its worst record until this season – and says he’s not expecting an easy ride with the Auckland-based franchise.
“I believe that the region needs a great franchise that’s winning, I think that the honeymoon period will be playing from now until the first game.
The Blues franchise is one of New Zealand’s most successful –in the 90s the club used the slogan ‘Our Blues are All Blacks!’ – but have only made the finals three times in the past decade.
The team’s franchise area includes Northland and Counties, but young talent has been slow to come through the ranks – and some promising players, such as rookie Warriors center Konrad Hurrell – have actually switched from union to league, a decision which would have been unthinkable when Super Rugby was first created.
“A lot of talent is in this region […] I think it’s really important that we create a pathway so that young players see the Blues as a real option to further their career and get as high as they can,” Kirwan says.
The incoming coach says he is committed to working on improving ties within the team’s selection region.
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