Former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga is back at the Blues, although his return to the Auckland Super Rugby club will have him supporting the side in a different way.
The Blues announced on Friday Umaga had returned to the club after a year in a new coaching consultant role.
Prior to his departure, Umaga had been the team's defence coach after being replaced by Leon MacDonald as head coach in 2018 following three unsuccessful seasons at the helm.
Umaga's new role will have him establishing development programmes for the Blues' assistant coaches as well as testing MacDonald on team planning, strategy and delivery, the club said.
"I’ve never lost the interest or desire to remain in coaching and being part of the Blues again," said Umaga.
"Part of the role around the team environment and culture is something that is dear to me and I enjoy, while the coach and player development work and assessment is a new challenge, which I look forward to."
Blues CEO Andrew Hore added Umaga will work closely on planning and delivery around the team culture and environment, including the overall team purpose and weekly mindset strategies.
"Tana has retained his contact with the club and we have always said that our door will remain open to him," Hore said.
"He is in a position now and has the want to re-join our group, which links him to the coaches he enjoys a close relationship with.
"That said, Tana has a different role with the club and while he will work closely with many aspects of the team and club, he will also take a helicopter role to critically analyse key aspects of team performance."
Umaga will begin in his new role on December 1 as the Blues look to go one better in 2023 after losing the final to the Crusaders at Eden Park earlier this year.