16 Jul 2018

Coventry to join Blues coaching team

3:04 pm on 16 July 2018

North Harbour coach Tom Coventry is returning to the Super Rugby ranks, joining the Blues as an assistant coach.

North Harbour coach Tom Coventry.

North Harbour coach Tom Coventry. Photo: Photosport

The Blues announced on Monday the former Chiefs assistant would be part of their coaching team alongside head coach Tana Umaga and Leon MacDonald, who were confirmed in their roles in May.

Coventry, who won two Super Rugby titles as an assistant coach at the Chiefs, guided North Harbour to the semifinals of last year's National Provincial Championship (NPC) and has had close recent involvement with the Blues as coach of their development team.

Blues chief executive Michael Redman said the club was impressed with Coventry's credentials.

"We received some outstanding applications for the position but Tom stood out with his clarity and details around the forwards' role. His credentials as a coach are impressive and his success to date speaks for itself.

"He comes with significant support from our players who have played under him, and from our own staff who have worked with him both at North Harbour and with our development side.

"We believe we have an excellent team of coaching staff in place as we look to make a significant improvement in our performances next season."

A former loose forward for Waikato, Coventry spent five years as an assistant coach to Dave Rennie at the Chiefs, winning the 2012 and 2013 titles.

The former Hawke's Bay co-coach departed to the UK in 2016 to take charge of London Irish, but left at the end of the season after the team won just four of their 22 games and were relegated from the English Premiership.

Coventry picked up the head coach job at North Harbour on his return to New Zealand, leading them to a top four finish last year after several years struggling towards the bottom of the NPC.

As he prepared to join a team who finished second-last in Super Rugby this year, extending their absence from the playoffs to seven years, Coventry said he was excited by the challenge ahead with the Blues.

"In my time in the region I have had a good chance to evaluate and be impressed by the talent here.

"Clearly there are unique challenges and responsibilities in this region but I believe the club has the foundations in place as well as a first-class training facility.

"I am confident with a lot of hard work that we can turn around the fortunes at the Blues and I look forward to being part of that."

Coventry will complete his duties with North Harbour in the upcoming NPC before taking up his position.

Blues forwards coach Steve Jackson did not seek re-appointment.

Redman said the club would confirm support staff roles in the coming months.