Former All Black legend Andrew Mehrtens has joined the Waratahs coaching staff for the 2014 Super Rugby season as kicking coach.
Now working in Sydney, the Canterbury player who kicked his way into the record books and earned a reputation as one New Zealand's best ever first five eighths has been brought on board by Head Coach Michael Cheika to work with the team throughout the 2014 season.
Born in Durban in 1973, Mehrtens moved to New Zealand as a youngster, grew up in Christchurch where he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, who both played for Canterbury and New Zealand. Mehrtens debuted for the All Blacks in the 1995 season, scoring 28 points against Canada.
In 1999 Mehrtens kicked a record nine penalties in a Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia and went on to enjoy a 12-year career at first-class level. He remains the second all-time highest points scorer for New Zealand.
Mehrtens played a key role in the Crusaders' three title wins from 1998 - 2000 and again when they won the Super 12 in 2001 and 2005.
"Obviously I spent a long time at the Crusaders and I still support the Crusaders but I'm here working with these guys and as people and as rugby players I want them to get the best out of themselves. I'd be delighted if and when they do well this season," said Mehrtens.
"I enjoyed my time playing alongside (Waratahs assistant coach) Daryl Gibson and I've known Michael Cheika for a long time since I played against him in Italy. I like both those guys, I think they're awesome coaches and I like what they seem to be trying to doing here as well. It's just a pleasure to be involved and not working full time in rugby now, I've actually got a passion for it.
Mehrtens has started working in Sydney for a financial firm at which Phil Kearns is the CEO.
"I'm working, my CEO in town is Phil Kearns so obviously there's a strong rugby connection there. I'm really enjoying being part of a kind of normal working life, it means that I can treat rugby sort as a hobby or a sport or a pastime and have that balance."
"I'm just chuffed to be back in it I've spent a few months doing not much in rugby. The French experience (he coached Beziers Herault in French second tier rugby) led to me wanting a bit of a break from it. But from what I've seen and from what I've heard, these guys are working bloody hard and you know, they're going to climb into this season so I'm looking forward to it.
"Within the context of trying to put back, I'm here in Sydney at the moment and like I say have been very well received and I'm enjoying being involved in rugby on a part time basis and so, it's good fun and if I can do anything to help anyone enjoy similar experiences and a similar enjoyment to what I had in rugby then great.
When asked how he would feel if the Waratahs won a Super Rugby title by a penalty goal beating a New Zealand team Mehrtens said, "I'd be chuffed for them."