The Blues have confirmed the signing of former All Blacks halfback Jimmy Cowan for next season.
Cowan played 51 tests for the All Blacks and 108 games for the Highlanders before a two-year stint with English club Gloucester.
The 32-year-old, who was playing for Tasman in the NPC, would fill the void left by Piri Weepu’s departure and compete with incumbent Bryn Hall.
“Jimmy brings competitiveness, plenty of experience and great game awareness which is something we were really looking for,” Blues coach Sir John Kirwan said.
“We’ve got some good young guys coming through in Bryn Hall, Ihaia West and Simon Hickey coupled with Dan Bowden coming back but we still felt we were lacking a bit of experience through that combination.
Former Highlanders coach Glenn Moore will take charge of the Blues forward pack for the next two years.
Moore will join the Blues fulltime at the conclusion of the Heartland Championship – he is the current Mid Canterbury head coach – and replace All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne, who stepped down at this end of last season.
Auckland-born Moore partners head coach Kirwan and assistant Grant Doorey in the coaching team with a back skills coach, who will fill Sir Graham Henry’s void, to be appointed in the coming weeks.
Moore reckons none of his Super Rugby charges will phone to say they can’t make training because the cow shed roof has blown off in a big storm.
The Blues on Monday named veteran lock Ali Williams as captain for the 2013 season, with coach John Kirwan saying it will give the 77-Test veteran a chance to prove his doubters wrong.