The Blues have received a welcome injection of experience to their halves with former All Black Jimmy Cowan signing for the franchise for the 2015 Investec Super Rugby season.
Having racked up more than 50 caps for the All Blacks and more than 100 caps for the Highlanders, Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan said Cowan was the perfect man to fill the void at halfback.
“Jimmy brings competitiveness, plenty of experience and great game awareness which is something we were really looking for,” 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.
“Piri Weepu left a bit of a hole but we think Jimmy’s really going to step into that role and be fundamental to the growth of this franchise.”
After a two-year stint in England with Gloucester, Cowan returned to New Zealand this year to ply his trade with Tasman and said he was relishing a return to Super Rugby with the Blues in 2015.
“I had a great time overseas but I’m really happy to be back in New Zealand and I still have a real hunger and desire to prove myself at the next level,” Cowan said.
“I’m excited about moving up to Auckland to join the Blues and feel I can really contribute towards helping them achieve success.”
Hailing from Invercargill, Cowan debuted for the Southland Stags in 2000 at the age of 18 before earning a call-up to the Highlanders in 2003.
He was called into the All Blacks for the 2004 end-of-year tour to Europe and made his debut as a reserve against Italy on the first Test of the tour.
In 2012 he headed to England to join Gloucester before returning to New Zealand earlier this year.