UPDATE: Kirwan resigns, Blues mum on replacement

The former All Blacks captain will sign a three-year deal with the Super Rugby franchise shortly.


Sir John Kirwan has resigned as Blues head coach, saying it is the best thing for the club he loves.

In a press conference this morning the Blues say it understands Mr Kirwan's decision, after he took ownership in what is a "results business."

But the Super Rugby franchise will not comment on any possible replacement, amid speculation former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga is close to signing on.

The board will meet next week to consider its options.

"I wish the club all the best," Mr Kirwan says.


Former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga is reportedly close to replacing Sir John Kirwan as Blues head coach next season.

Fairfax Media reports Mr Umaga will sign a three-year deal with the Super Rugby franchise in the next couple of days.

Mr Kirwan is expected to remain with the Blues in a new role but the report says Mr Umaga wants full control of the team, including final selections and responsibility for on-field performance.

The former Hurricanes great is contracted to Counties Manukau until 2016 but reportedly has an out clause that allows him to move for a Super Rugby role.

The Blues won just three games this season, finishing second to last in the 15 team competition – its worst ever season.

The team won only 35% of games where Sir John was in charge.

Fairfax Media says a messy boardroom dispute between private investors in the Blues and the Auckland Rugby Union is yet to be resolved but will not stop Mr Umaga’s appointment.

In September, 2013, the Blues were taken over by Blues Management Ltd, 40% owned by Corporate Cabs owner Murray Bolton’s Bolton Equities, after a $4 million investment, and 60% owned by Rugby Holdings, owned by the Auckland, North Harbour and Northland unions.

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