Blues rugby legend Sir John Kirwan has resigned his role as head coach of the organisation.
Kirwan, who has been head coach for three years, has today announced that he will not seek reappointment for a further term as coach and will step aside, effective immediately.
While Kirwan had put up a proposal to the Blues Board for his continued involvement, he said that he had reconsidered over the past few days after talking with his family, colleagues and friends.
“I had a chance to take a breath and reflect about the situation, my future and above all my love of this Blues club and the players,” Kirwan said.
“People who know me well know that I do not walk away from a challenge and that was what was driving me because I know what has been set-up in terms of organisational structure in the last two years.
“However I always said that if I didn’t bring about the results that the players, the club and the fans wanted, then I would step aside.”
Blues CEO Michael Redman said that the organisation owes much to Kirwan who will leave a real legacy at the club, which became a standalone organisation last year.
“When JK arrived three years ago he had the courage to shine a spotlight on the areas within the organisation that were in serious need of an overhaul,” said Redman. “The playing record of the Blues under JK has not reflected his work and the determination he had to create a pathway for sustainable success going forward, based on strong values.
“That reform is now unstoppable and JK has to take a significant amount of the credit for it.”
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said he supported Sir John Kirwan’s decision to step down from the Blues Head Coach role.
“John has given his all for the Blues. He has worked very hard to try and turn the team’s fortunes around in what is one of the toughest rugby competitions in the world and we appreciate the contribution he has made.
“Unfortunately the results have not been as we all would have wanted and he has made the call to step aside to allow for a fresh start for the team in 2016. We support that decision, thank JK sincerely and wish him all the best for the future.”
Kirwan, who played 63 times for the All Blacks and 142 for Auckland, has previously coached the national teams of Italy and Japan before returning to take up the head coach role at the Blues in 2013.
The Blues will make an announcement on coaching as soon as practicable.