SIR Graham Henry couldn’t resist the opportunity to start coaching again, answering a request from new Blues coach Sir John Kirwan to join the struggling team.
The World Cup-winning coach has taken a position as a technical advisor, as part of a coaching group that includes All Blacks skills coach Mick Bryne, who will lead the forwards, and Australian Grant Doorey as backline manager.
Both Bryne and Doorey had similar roles under Kirwan while he was in charge of Japan.
However it is the appointment of Henry which is the biggest coup.
He will add his considerable knowledge in the hope it turns around the flagging Auckland-based side.
Henry said former Blues coach Pat Lam had also asked him to fill a similar role, but it was too soon after 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 told Fairfax NZ.
“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.”
The role would replace his current mentoring role with the NZRU, and would still allow him 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 delighted with the team he had assembled.
“One of my presentations was to have a world class coaching staff and I believe that’s what we have got.”
Henry didn’t take too much convincing.
“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.”
The team has 17 contracted players, and they were in talks with several more.
IMAGE: Luton Anderson via Wikimedia Commons