Former All Black and current Crusaders assistant coach Mark Hammett has been appointed head coach of the Hurricanes for two years from 2011, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and Hurricanes franchise announced today.

Hurricanes technical advisor and fellow former All Black Alama Ieremia will take on a new role with the team as assistant coach in 2011.

Current Hurricanes assistant coach Jono Philips will take on a new role as Hurricanes high performance manager at the end of this season.

Hammett, who will continue with the Crusaders' 2010 Super 14 campaign, said he was excited about the appointment and the opportunity came up at the right time.

"This is a great opportunity, and I am looking forward to stepping up to the responsibility of being head coach. The Hurricanes have a strong and proud team and I'm looking forward to being part of building on the great work already achieved," he said.

Hurricanes chief executive Greg Peters and NZRU general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen both welcomed the appointments as positive moves for the Hurricanes franchise.

Sorensen said Hammett had been a strong contender for the Crusaders head coach position two years ago. As assistant coach to Todd Blackadder and before him Robbie Deans, Hammett had shown himself to be a formidable figure for the Crusaders.

"As a former All Black and Super Rugby player himself, Hammer brings another element to his philosophy and approach to work as a coach, and that can only be great for the team. He is ready to step up to the top job and we are delighted that he has chosen to stay in New Zealand to do so with the Hurricanes from 2011," Sorensen said.

Peters said Hammett's current Super 14 experience would be a huge benefit to the Hurricanes.

"This is just fantastic that we can have someone of his coaching calibre and experience to lead us into a new era. I have no doubt that he will make a major contribution to the team's efforts next year."

- NZPA