Auckland appoint ex-Blues captain Xavier Rush as assistant coach

Former Cardiff Blues captain and coach Xavier Rush has been appointed Auckland assistant coach.

The ex-New Zealand number eight spent eight seasons as a player with the Blues.

After he was forced to retire in 2012 because of a neck injury he joined the region's coaching staff as defence coach.

"It is very exciting to be coming back home and working with Auckland Rugby," said Rush.

"I have many fond memories of my time in the blue and white jersey and can't wait to get stuck in as a part of the coaching team."

Rush joined the Blues from Auckland Blues in 2005 and scored 22 tries in 153 appearances for the region.

He captained the region for two seasons from 2006 before handing the reins to countryman Paul Tito.

Rush agreed to join Ulster on a two-year deal in February 2010 but stayed at the Blues following a change of heart.

He won eight All Black caps and captained Auckland Blues to the Super 12 title in 2003.

Rush played 80 games for Auckland between 1997 and 2004, captaining the side to three National Provincial Championships and Ranfurly Shield success.

The 36-year-old has joined the coaching staff of newly appointed Auckland coach Paul Feeney and will assist him and fellow assistant coach Nick White for the forthcoming ITM Cup season.