The Blues have missed out on securing the services of former Wallabies coach Dave Rennie for next year’s Super Rugby Pacific season.
With Leon MacDonald expected to join All Blacks coach Scott Robertson’s backroom staff, Newshub understands the Blues made a play at Rennie.
But despite a lucrative offer, Rennie turned the role down with a life away from the New Zealand spotlight, a change of pace and lifestyle a bigger drawcard for the two-time Super Rugby winner.
The former Chiefs coach is being linked with a move to Japanese club Kobe, where former Black Ferns director of rugby Wayne Smith is a mentor.
Smith served as Rennie’s assistant coach during his time at the Chiefs, where they won back-to-back titles.
But he wouldn’t be the only familiar face at Kobe, with current Chiefs and All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick joining the club next year.
Rennie was replaced by Eddie Jones as coach of Australia in January, with several teams reportedly vying for his signature since.
His last stint in Super Rugby came in 2017, where he guided the Chiefs to a semi-finals appearance for the second straight year.
Rennie led the Waikato franchise to their first-ever title in his debut season in 2013, before lifting another trophy the following year.
His rookie streak was only bettered by Robertson, who led the Crusaders to a record six Super Rugby titles.
Rennie’s coaching pedigree prompted the advances of the Blues, having all but resigned to losing MacDonald to the All Blacks.
MacDonald previously revealed he and Robertson were in regular contact throughout the latter’s appointment by NZ Rugby as Ian Foster’s successor.
He opened up on potentially joining the All Blacks as an assistant coach, and remained coy, but wouldn’t hide his interest in the position should it arise.
“It’s such a big topic,” said MacDonald. “Firstly, Razor getting the job… I’m stoked for him, he’ll do a great job.
“He’s been biding his time around the announcement of his assistants and I think that’s a big part of his gig as well. He’s going to assemble the team, and he should have the ability as and when he wants.
“As soon as we’re able to talk a bit more about it, I’d love to chat.”