Former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is returning to coaching with a part-time role at Super Rugby Trans-Tasman champions the Blues.

Schimdt stepped down from his role as director of rugby and high performance with World Rugby in September in order to remain in New Zealand and spend more time with his family.

And the 56-year-old has secured a quick return to coaching with the Blues, where he worked as an assistant coach for three years before moving to Clermont Auvergne in 2007.

Schmidt rejoins the Auckland side as a "support coach" to head coach Leon MacDonald, while former Boyne RFC coach Craig McGrath replaces Tana Umaga as defence coach.

"I'm really looking forward to coming back and helping out the coaching staff at the Blues," said Schmidt, who won three Six Nations titles during his six years in charge of Ireland before stepping down in 2019.

"I know pretty much the whole crew and it’s a nice fit stepping in for Tana, who I greatly respect.

"I have really enjoyed getting to know Leon. He is doing a great job and has got the team in a really good place after their success this year.

"I’ve also got a lot of time for Ice (McGrath) and look forward to linking up with him again."

MacDonald added: "Joe has been mentoring me the last 12 months, which has been incredibly helpful.

"Having him as part of the coaching team will give us a different voice in the mix and he can also look at things through a different lens and really challenge us."

The Blues defeated the Highlanders in the inaugural Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final in June to claim their first piece of silverware in 18 years.