Crusaders coach Blackadder off to UK

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder will become director of rugby for English club Bath after stepping down from his role at the Super Rugby franchise.

Blackadder, after coaching the Christchurch-based club for eight seasons, said it was tough to leave but was excited to start a new chapter of his life in the UK.

He departs having taken the Crusaders to two grand finals in 2011 and 2014, losing to Queensland and the NSW Waratahs respectively.

The Crusaders were knocked out of the 2016 season at the quarter-final stage after a 42-25 defeat to the Lions in South Africa.

“I know that the timing is right for both the team and for me, and I will continue to be the Crusaders’ biggest fan from afar,” Blackadder said.

Blackadder will be joined at Bath by assistant Tabai Matson, who will become head coach for the club.

He has been Blackadder’s assistant since 2013, as well as attack coach for Fiji.

“It’s never an easy decision to move away from a team you have invested a lot in but, having made that decision, I am now excited about what lies ahead,” Matson said.

“It will be awesome to be involved in the European club competitions.”

Crusaders CEO Hamish Riach thanked the two men for their service, saying the club had lost good coaches and good men.

Blackadder, who announced his intention to leave the Crusaders at the beginning of the 2016 season, will be replaced by former club flanker Scott Robertson.

Robertson has previously coached the Canterbury national provincial team and the New Zealand under-20s outfit.

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