Rugby: Matson, Mauger join Crusaders

Tabai Matson (pictured) and Aaron Mauger have been confirmed as the Crusaders' new assistant coaches for next season. Photo / Geoff Sloan.
Tabai Matson (pictured) and Aaron Mauger have been confirmed as the Crusaders' new assistant coaches for next season. Photo / Geoff Sloan.

Tabai Matson and Aaron Mauger have been confirmed as the Crusaders' new assistant coaches for next season.

Matson, who took Canterbury to ITM Cup success this year in his first season as head coach, and Mauger, who assisted him, have replaced Daryl Gibson.

Gibson resigned after his role was downgraded to a defence position. He has since signed with the Waratahs in Sydney.

The process to appoint Matson and Mauger, who will assist head coach Todd Blackadder and forwards coach Dave Hewett, was a long one. It was understood to have been lengthened due to the need to finalise the contract details for Matson and Mauger.

Matson will give up his role as Canterbury coach in order to coach the Crusaders. Mauger will still be involved in the ITM Cup, however, with Scott Robertson likely to take a wider role at Canterbury after his previous duties as an assistant.

Like Gibson, Matson and Mauger are former Canterbury, Crusaders, and All Blacks midfielders.

"There is a real buzz of excitement around the management team,'' said Blackadder.

"The new appointments bring so much enthusiasm, positivity and valuable skills and experience with them. I am really excited about working with them over the coming season to make this Crusaders team the best it can be.

"Bringing our coaching resource up to four dedicated coaches to allow a more specialised focus on our defence and attack play was one of the key requirements we identified in our review of the 2012 season. With this coaching team I believe that we have the right mix of experience in the different facets of play to perfectly complement our players and bring out the best in each of them.''

Former Canterbury trainer Mark Drury has replaced Carl Jennings as the Crusaders trainer. Jennings has departed for the Warriors.

- APNZ

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