Sir John Kirwan and Sir Graham Henry's coaching partnership has been confirmed at the Blues.
A five-time IRB coach of the year, Henry will oversee the defensive duties in a "technical assistant" role - the same brief he held the last time the Blues won the Super Rugby title, back in 2003.
The wider Auckland region will be hoping his expected appointment can instigate a similar turnaround in fortunes.
This is Henry's first coaching post in New Zealand after eight years as All Black head coach, which culminated with last year's Rugby World Cup victory.
He is likely to forgo his commitments to the other four New Zealand franchises. At this stage, it is unclear whether Henry can maintain his freedom to take up part-time international consultancy positions, like that with Argentina this year.
The two Knights will be joined by All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne, who notably takes charge of the forwards, and kicking, after being granted his wish of receiving upgraded responsibility.
Byrne has been cleared to work with both the All Blacks and Blues by the New Zealand Rugby Union, but it is understood he will not be involved with the national team during next year's three-test June series to avoid complications.
Former Australian rugby league player Grant Doorey, who assisted Kirwan in Japan and Italy, completes the coaching quartet. The largely unknown Doorey is tasked with the backs and skills.
In addition to the overall team structure, former All Blacks wing Kirwan will, fittingly, lead the attacking vision.
The four-pronged coaching set-up signals a significant change in vision from Blues' hierarchy - an acknowledgement they got it wrong. Just two full-time mentors, Pat Lam and Bryce Woodward, struggled through the majority of last season.
Blues bosses appear to have seen the success the Chiefs achieved with their four-strong management team and have attempted to emulate their neighbouring rivals.
The franchise will, also, have to open their pocket to pay two of the four salaries. The NZRU funds the others.
"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.
"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.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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