By 3 News online staff
Sir John Kirwan has been named as the new Blues coach to replace Pat Lam.
The former All Black’s appointment was announced by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and the Blues Franchise this afternoon.
He will replace former coach Pat Lam.
Kirwan, 47, will start coaching from August 13 and has signed a two-year contract for the 2013 and 2014 Super Rugby Seasons.
"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 says.
Lam told 3 News he had been sacked following a horror season with the Auckland-based rugby club and was not being considered for re-appointment.
He coached the Blues from 2009 to 2012.
Kirwan has worked as the Blues assistant coach in the past but most recently has been coaching in Japan and Italy.
"I'm… thrilled about coming back to New Zealand and home to Auckland after several years overseas.”
He says he is a proud Blues man.
“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 represented Auckland from 1983 to 1994 and played for the All Blacks from 1984 to 1994.
Blues chairman Gary Whetton and NZRU professional rugby manager Neil Sorenson have congratulated Kirwan, but also paid tribute to outgoing coach Lam.
"We know this is a difficult time for Pat who has been a long and loyal servant to Auckland Rugby and the Blues and we thank him for all he has given to both," Whetton says.
“We know that Pat will be very disappointed with this outcome as he had worked tirelessly for the Blues,” Sorenson says. “We will continue to talk to Pat about his future and we wish him well.”