Rugby: Blackadder confirmed as Crusaders coach

Former All Blacks captain Todd Blackadder was today named Crusaders Super 14 rugby coach to replace Robbie Deans.

The Canterbury Rugby Union released a statement today saying Blackadder, 36, would be assisted by Mark Hammett and Daryl Gibson. Hammett, who was Deans' assistant this year, will coach the forwards while Gibson returns from a playing and coaching stint in the United Kingdom to oversee the backs.

All three are foundation Crusaders players and played together for the All Blacks.

"I have a passionate desire to keep the Crusaders at the pinnacle of world rugby, to build on the legacy of the past, and to freshen, stimulate and lead the organisation into the future," Blackadder said in a statement today.

"Most importantly, I'm delighted that we have been able to put a really strong coaching team together and I look forward to working with Mark, Daryl and the rest of the team in the coming months."

Blackadder captained the first Crusaders team in 1996 and held that position in 2001, leading them to three titles before he went overseas.

He played 25 times for the All Blacks, including 14 as captain.

Blackadder's coaching career began in Scotland where, after a playing stint, he was appointed assistant coach of the national side in 2003-2004 and was head coach of Edinburgh in 2004-2005.

Last year he held the role of Crusaders technical advisor.

Blackadder was appointed coach of Tasman last year and has been the province's director of rugby since 2006.

Deans vacated the Crusaders position this year after winning this year's Super 14 title to became Australian head coach.

- NZPA

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