Mehrtens to coach Waratahs kickers
All Black legend Andrew Mehrtens has joined the Waratahs coaching staff as their kicking coach.
Now working in Sydney, the Canterbury player who kicked his way into the record books and earned a reputation as one New Zealand's best ever fly-halves has been brought on board by Head Coach Michael Cheika to work with the team throughout the 2014 Super Rugby season.
Born in Durban in 1973, Mehrtens moved to New Zealand as a youngster, grew up in Christchurch where he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, who both played for Canterbury and New Zealand. Mehrtens debuted for the All Blacks in the 1995 season, scoring 28 points against Canada.
In 1999 Mehrtens kicked a record nine penalties in a Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia and went on to enjoy a 12-year career at first-class level. He remains the second all-time highest points scorer for New Zealand.
Mehrtens played a key role in the Crusaders' three title wins from 1998 - 2000 and again when they won the Super 12 in 2001 and 2005.
"Obviously I spent a long time at the Crusaders and I still support the Crusaders, but I'm here working with these guys and as people and as rugby players I want them to get the best out of themselves," Mehrtens said in a Q&A session conducted with the Waratahs.
"I'd be delighted if and when they do well this season."
Mehrtens is working in Sydney for the financial planning firm at which former Wallabies hooker Phil Kearns is CEO.
"It means that I can treat rugby sort of as a hobby or a sport or a pastime and have that balance. I'm just chuffed to be back in it. I've spent a few months doing not much in rugby. The French experience [coaching at second-tier club Beziers-Herault] led to me wanting a bit of a break from it. But, from what I've seen and from what I've heard, [the Waratahs] are working bloody hard and you know, they're going to climb into this season so I'm looking forward to it.
"I enjoyed my time playing alongside [Waratahs assistant coach] Daryl Gibson and I've known Michael Cheika for a long time since I played against him in Italy. I like both those guys, I think they're awesome coaches and I like what they seem to be trying to doing here as well. It's just a pleasure to be involved and not working full-time in rugby now, I've actually got a passion for it."