Pat Lam has been sacked after presiding over a horror season when the Auckland-based team managed just four wins from 16 games.
The Blues’ best finish under Lam’s guidance was fourth place last year. They finished seventh in 2010, and ninth the previous year.
Kirwan enjoyed an illustrious career on the wing for the All Blacks before moving to coaching which has seen him in charge of Italy and Japan in RWC campaigns.
Kirwan scored record of 67 tries for New Zealand including 35 in 63 Test matches. He is remembered for a fantastic try in the opening match of the 1987 RWC against Italia (see below the try against Italia and some of his tries).
He also scored a brilliant try in South Africa’s return match in 1992 (See below).
He switched codes in 1995 and played for the Auckland Warriors, but returned to union a season later and finished his playing career in Japan with NEC.
He began coaching Japan in 2007 and saw some success, however a disastrous 2011 Rugby World Cup ended his time with the Cherry Blossoms.
His battle with depression and subsequent work in raising depression awareness saw him appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2007.
This selection might be a relief for the Sharks because Plumtree was apparently also on the short list.