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Kirwan quits coaching post


John Kirwan quit Friday as head coach of the Auckland-based Blues after the team’s 14th-place finish in Super Rugby this season.

The Blues won only three of 16 matches in their worst-ever season in 2015, following 10th place finishes under Kirwan’s coaching in 2013 and 2014.

Pressure has been mounting on the Blues’ board to remove Kirwan, who had been appointed to great fanfare in 2013 as the answer to the problems of an under-performing franchise.

The former All Blacks winger, who previously coached Japan and Italy, was expected to revive a team which won the most-recent of its three Super Rugby titles in 2003.

Former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga is reported to be close to signing a three-year deal as Kirwan’s replacement.