Former All Blacks captain Todd Blackadder has emerged as a hot contender for the vacant Queensland Reds coaching job.

Late last year, Blackadder made it clear this would be his eighth and final season as coach of the Christchurch-based Crusaders before pursuing other ambitions.

It was thought those ambitions were firmly based in Europe's top competitions but the Munster job he was linked with in Ireland went to South Africa's quality candidate Rassie Erasmus.

Blackadder, 44, is on the short list of seven final contenders for the Reds coaching job and The Courier-Mail understands he interviewed for the job this week.


Blackadder's Crusaders have reached the final twice (2011 and 2014) during his reign.

Perhaps the greatest testimony to his stewardship is that he has guided the Crusaders to top spot this season in the first year without icons Dan Carter and Richie McCaw.

Blackadder's credentials are obvious but there is also a bigger picture.

Having the two biggest rugby provinces in the country run by Kiwis could even be blocked at Australian Rugby Union level because Daryl Gibson is already in charge at the NSW Waratahs.

The Western Force are also in the hunt for a head coach and it may be that Blackadder is in the race there as well.

The Queensland Rugby Union has lived up to the promise to comb far and wide for potential head coaches, with England's failed World Cup coach Stuart Lancaster still believed to be in the running.

Reds co-coaches Matt O'Connor and Nick Stiles, the home grown boss for two national Rugby Championship titles, both have strong claims to consider as well.