Bryce Woodward was icing his leg and unable to take the dog for a walk last night, not quite the celebratory pose he imagined as the new assistant coach of the Blues.

"I tweaked my leg training with Northland," he laughed. "I'll be alright, it is only minor but I will get some stick."

Not that Woodward minds after being the first Northland coach to be promoted to the Blues in the 15-year history of the Super rugby series. He will continue to coach in this year's ITM Cup as he dovetails his duties selecting the next Blues squad with coach Pat Lam.

"I've put my hand up before," he said. "I have been disappointed but have taken the attitude that people who make the decisions do so for a reason."

When Woodward missed out to David Nucifora for a coaching position with the Blues, he decided to put his energies into his land surveying, planning and engineering business in Whangarei.

"I did that so I could have a go in the future, coached some club rugby then Northland last year and this," he said. "I have been very keen to push for a Super rugby coaching job.

"It also shows that Northland is a pathway to higher honours for players [Rene Ranger] and coaches.

"It will be a very busy later part of the season but all my focus now is on getting Northland ready for our next game on Sunday against Manawatu."

Woodward has twice coached the New Zealand Under-21 side to world championship titles and this year coached the Blues development squad.

"Bryce has been a stalwart of provincial and national representative rugby over the past decade," said NZRU general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen.

Woodward coached Northland from 1999-2002 and returned to the province last year. He coached the New Zealand Under-21 side during 2002-2005 and coached the New Zealand Barbarians side against the New Zealand Maori this season.

Former All Black Simon Culhane will assist ex-teammate Jamie Joseph as assistant coach of the Highlanders. Culhane has been co-coach of Southland since 2005.

Former All Black prop Dave Hewett is the new Crusaders assistant forwards coach. Hewett, the Crusaders scrum coach for the past three seasons, will join head coach Todd Blackadder and assistant Daryl Gibson.