Auckland Blues have included former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt to their coaching panel on a part-time role ahead of the 2022 season of Super Rugby Pacific.
The 56-year-old earlier stepped down from his role of World Rugby's director of rugby and high performance last month and now has returned back to Blues having previously been the assistant coach of the Super Rugby side between 2004 and 2007.
Schmidt became the head coach of Ireland in 2013 and guided them to three Six Nations titles (2014, 2015 and Grand Slam 2018). He also guided Ireland to first ever win against New Zealand in Chicago in 2016 and again defeated the All Blacks two years later in the November series and has also steered Leinster to four titles.
Blues head coach Leon MacDonald believes Schmidt's experience will benefit the club as they look to build from their success in the Super Rugby Transman competition where they clinched the title.
"Joe has been mentoring me the last 12 months, which has been incredibly helpful," said MacDonald.
"Having him as part of the coaching team will give us a different voice in the mix and he can also look at things through a different lens and really challenge us."
Schmidt is looking forward to the new role with Blues.
"It seems like a long time ago, I've been working my way around the coaching world really," he said.