Shane Howarth named Blues Assistant Coach


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Auckland Assistant Coach Shane Howarth has been appointed Assistant Coach of the Blues for three years, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and Blues Franchise have announced.

40-year-old Howarth has been in his current role with Auckland since 2004, working alongside Pat Lam, who has recently been named the new Blues’ Head Coach.

Their successful coaching partnership has lead Auckland to two national championship titles in 2005 and 2007. Last year, an unbeaten Auckland side won the Air New Zealand Cup and secured the Ranfurly Shield.

Howarth said he has had to make some tough decisions regarding his coaching career recently.

‘I chose to step down from Assistant Coach of New Zealand Maori in order to put full focus into the Auckland team this year. And now, with the opportunities presenting themselves in the Blues, plus Pat’s departure from the Auckland Head Coach role, I have certainly had some important decisions to make.

‘Pat and I work well together, so we are extremely fortunate the two coaching positions became available in the same season. It’s a massive challenge and I’m looking forward to the opportunity,’ said Howarth on the Blues website.

NZRU General Manager of Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said Howarth is one of New Zealand’s most promising coaches.

‘Shane has a played a major role in the success of Auckland in the Air New Zealand Cup. He has the knowledge and an established relationship with Pat, and as a coaching team they have proven their ability to get results and we wish them well.’

Blues and Auckland Rugby CEO Andy Dalton congratulated Howarth on a ‘well-earned’ appointment. Dalton also wanted to reassure Auckland supporters that Lam and Howarth’s,elevation does not mean Auckland Rugby will be left in the lurch.

‘It is this time of year that Rebel Sport Super 14 coaching vacancies must be filled and it is natural provincial coaches already aligned with a team will put their hand up. But the applicants cannot be disadvantaged because of timing ‘ it must always be about the right person for the job,’ said Dalton.

Given Auckland’s Ranfurly Shield season is already underway and the Air New Zealand Cup begins this week, Auckland Rugby is in the unusual position of having two coaching vacancies while in-season.

With Pat Lam as the new Head Coach of the Blues, he could not retain his role as Auckland Head Coach for this year’s Air New Zealand Cup, but the same restriction does not apply to the Blues’ Assistant Coach position.

‘We cannot make any firm decisions until we have interviewed the Head Coach candidates in early August,’ said Dalton.


‘Once we have secured that role we will have a better idea of Auckland’s coaching personnel short and long-term.’

Howarth’s coaching resume also includes Assistant Coach of the Pacific Islanders team in 2006 and New Zealand Maori in 2007.

As a player, he represented the All Blacks in 1993’1994, New Zealand Maori in 1990, 1992 and 1994, Auckland from 1990’1995 and the Blues in 1997.

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