Australian coach John Mulvihill has been revealed as the man to take over from Danny Wilson as Cardiff Blues head coach at the end of the season after a five-month search.
The 51-year-old will be a little known name to many fans in the Northern Hemisphere, who has spent the majority of his coaching career in Western Australia and Japan, but has come recommended by former Cardiff and caretaker Wales coach Alec Evans.
Crucially, Mulvihill also has the approval of Welsh Rugby Union Head of Rugby Performance Geraint John, affording Cardiff Blues a £200,000 windfall from the Union.
It was back at the end of September that Danny Wilson announced his intention not to take up the final year of his contract at Wales’ Capital Region, and eventually signed up to become Wasps forwards coach next season under another former Cardiff Blues coach, David Young.
Since then it’s been a magical mystery tour of coaches linked to the job, with Geordan Murphy, Chris Boyd, Gert Smal, Paul Feeney and Jim Mallinder all linked to the role at one time or another.
However, former New South Wales and Queensland fly-half John Mulvihill has brought an end to the search for a new head coach, in what will be his second job in the Northern Hemisphere after a spell as player/coach of Navan RFC in the All-Ireland League around the turn of the century.
Upon his return to Australia he became backs coach of the Western Force in Super Rugby, before heading to Japan in 2009 where he has stayed for the intervening nine years in coaching roles at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kintetsu Liners and Honda Heat.
Speaking to the Cardiff Blues official website on his appointment, Mulvihill said, “It is a great honour and privilege to be appointed Head Coach of Cardiff Blues for the next three seasons. I see it as not only as great challenge but as a huge opportunity to re-energise a region with awesome potential to be the best in Wales.
“A new beginning brings fresh ideas and a new approach that will assist the playing group to reach their full potential both as individuals and as a collective group.
“It is an exciting time for the club with other new coaches and players to be announced in due course
“I can assure the supporters that both Cardiff Blues and the WRU carried out an extensive interviewing process and I fully understand the importance and responsibility that the position carries with it.
“Hard work, commitment and dedication are not negotiable in our game, add to this passion, fun and excitement and young men can achieve unlimited success
“I am aware the team is still alive in a number of competitions and at this time would like to make sure the focus is still on their preparation and continued success.
“I would like to wish Danny Wilson, his staff and the players the very best of luck for the remainder of the season and I am sure that they will work hard to achieve the goals that they have set themselves as a group.”
Cardiff Blues Chief Executive Richard Holland also spoke to the official site saying, “We’re obviously delighted to get John on board and I must thank the WRU for their support.
“I believe John will be the perfect fit for Cardiff Blues. He has an abundance of experience and a track record of bringing through young talent, which is very appealing given the age profile of our squad.
“He has played an instrumental role in the careers of numerous top-class internationals including David Pocock, Matt Giteau, James O’Connor and Drew Mitchell, who all speak very highly of him.
“Former Cardiff RFC coach Alex Evans has also mentored John and has been a great aid in the latter stages of the process.
“Not only that but he is a good man and we are very much looking forward to an exciting future with John at the helm.
“Work now begins on putting together a coaching team to assist John and our fantastic back-room staff. This will include a backs coach, forwards coach and a scrum coach.”