With the dust finally settled from his World Cup success, Sir Graham Henry admitted he couldn't resist the chance to start coaching again and didn't hesitate to answer Sir John Kirwan's request to join the Blues.
Henry's position as technical advisor was confirmed today in a powerful coaching lineup headed by Kirwan that also includes All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne as the forwards coach and Australian Grant Doorey as the backline boss.
Byrne and Doorey held similar roles with Kirwan in his tenure as Japan coach that ended after last year's World Cup.
But it's Henry who will provide the vast experience to a coaching team charged with turning a round the flagging Blues.
Henry revealed today that Pat Lam, the axed Blues coach, had asked him to fill a similar role for the just completed season. But that was too soon for him after the hype and demands of the World Cup.
"There has been a bit of water run under the bridge since the World Cup and I'm in a position where I can do this now," Henry said.
"Why do it? Because I l love it basically. I really love the coaching process of being involved with a team and I've missed it and I'm looking forward to being involved again ... in a lesser role obviously.
"It's my home base, this is where I grew up and I have a lot of good memories of that. The Blues are my franchise," he added, noting the three titles he won in 1996, 1997 and 2003 before moving on to glory with the All Blacks.
Henry said the Blues job would replace his current contract with the NZRU that has him mentoring Super Rugby and provincial coaches.
But he would still allow him the opportunity to pursue other coaching opportunities like he has been doing with Argentina.
"So this does several things: It brings me home; it cuts down the travel; and it fulfils the disease I've got to still be involved in coaching"
Kirwan was thrilled with his assembled coaching personnel.
"One of my presentations was to have a world class coaching staff and I believe that's what we have got."
He said it didn't take too much to twist Henry's arm to be involved.
"Graham and I had a fantastic meeting, Graham is like myself in that he is passionate about this franchise and passionate about us being successful. So it wasn't too hard."
Kirwan said the challenge now was to get a squad selected. They had 17 players on contract and they were talking to other players who were off contract. They would earnestly search the national championship to bolster their playing resources.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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