Reappointing John Kirwan is as unwise as rebuilding Eden Park for the last World Cup.

Boxes ticked by the stadium are tradition and capacity but it is uneconomic, in the wrong part of Auckland and for a modern arena does not suit either rugby or cricket.

Sentiment about staying at Eden Park should have been booted down to the waterfront or elsewhere where a modern, smaller, multi-purpose ground would have served the city and its sporting codes.

Arguments in support of Kirwan need to get real as well. He was appointed to coach the Blues and in three seasons has leaned on reservoirs of high-class rugby knowledge, without making any inroads.


Many influential people are supporting his retention. They argue Kirwan is changing the structure at the Blues, has learned from his mistakes and is tapping into a wealth of rising talent. They want him retained so he can try his theories while guiding an assistant like Tabai Matson.

We hear the players are strong supporters of the scheme while NZR high performance manager Don Tricker is working with Blues CEO Michael Redman to find a solution. In my experience players will say anything if it means they keep their jobs.

Five players - Frank Halai, Charles Piutau, Francis Saili, Brendon O'Connor and Luke Braid - are heading overseas and a number of the squad are not up to Super Rugby quality but will talk positively to try to stay on contract.

Kirwan has done the same. He completed his mid-season review into the sagging campaign and presented his ideas about reform to the board while a number of his influential advocates have been touting his merits.

The Blues have not gone to the market and, as Redman confirmed, they have rebuffed inquiries from a number of prospective coaches. That suggests the Blues and NZR are tailoring an arrangement to keep Kirwan on the payroll.

"We don't feel at this point that we are disadvantaged by the [end of May] timetable," Redman said.

Tricker confirmed he had held a number of discussions with the Blues.

"The next step is a decision on what happens with the coaching structure at the Blues, that is what we are working through right now."


After their latest loss to the Rebels and a 2-10 win-loss record, the Blues have home games left with the Bulls, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders. In Kirwan's three years they have a 34 per cent winning record with 15 victories in 44 games - easily the worst in Blues history.

Kirwan is no rookie coach, he got his start with the Blues in 2000-01 before going to coach Italy and Japan and is now coming to the end of another three years with the Blues. His work ethic cannot be faulted. He should have a fair grip on this coaching gig by now but head-scratching choices, poor results and an inability to attract players and staff tell you it ain't working.