The Blues have appointed Tony Hanks as high performance manager before the start of the 2014 Super Rugby season.
Hanks, who boasts an extensive coaching résumé that includes roles with the Auckland Rugby Union, Junior All Blacks, Waikato, the Chiefs, London Wasps and the Russian national side, said he was excited about the challenges that lay ahead.
"With a new structure and a strong coaching group I felt the timing was perfect to join the Blues as high performance manager," said Hanks.
"It's a great opportunity to return home and create something special in the area of high performance in the Blues region which I believe as a nursery for talent is probably one of the strongest in the world.
"It's really important we tap into that, evolve some of the good work that has happened in the past and put in place the framework for continued long-term success."
Hanks' role will have a strong focus on working with the Auckland, North Harbour and Northland Provincial Unions.
"If our Blues Provincial Union partners are strong we'll be stronger so it's incredibly important we partner with and work alongside them," added Hanks.
Blues CEO Michael Redman said he was thrilled to welcome Hanks to the Blues.
"Tony's well-rounded career to date puts him in a unique position to drive our high performance programme forward," said Redman.
"He's experienced in the New Zealand game and its structures around talent identification but he also brings invaluable overseas experience and a wider perspective which gives us the best of both worlds."
With the Blues currently undergoing a period of change, Redman said it was logical to pause and re-think the role of high performance, talent identification and player development as part of the long term planning for the franchise.
"The on-going development of our player base and professional pathway is vitally important so Tony's appointment is one of the critical pieces of the jigsaw in building the long-term future and success of the franchise," added Redman.
Hanks will officially begin with the Blues on February 17.