Crusaders assistant coach Daryl Gibson has today announced his resignation from the franchise.
Gibson, who has assisted head coach Todd Blackadder as backs coach for the past four seasons, will leave immediately from his role.
In a statement, Gibson admitted the downgrading of his role - the Crusaders are advertising for an attack coach after falling short in this area in the past few years - played a big part in his decision. His role for next year was to focus only on defence.
"I've had four fantastic years of coaching at the Crusaders,'' Gibson said. "I have had the honour of being involved with a wonderful group of players and coaches and I have loved my time here. However it is time for me to forge my own path now, as shown by many Crusaders assistant coaches such as Colin Cooper and Vern Cotter who have gone on to other exciting things.
"I am very excited about the future and I see this as a positive change in my rugby career. In the immediate future I am looking forward to being involved with the Maori All Blacks tour to the UK in November.''
Blackadder said: "With Daryl's resignation we will now reconsider the shape of those two coaching roles [attack and defence] and some variations may result depending on the specific strengths of the candidates considered for the positions.
"While we are obviously sad to see Daryl go, we must also acknowledge that this opens up a new opportunity for the Crusaders in 2013. We are aware from the process we have been undertaking to employ a new team attack coach that there is a very high calibre of coaching talent out there, so we are confident that we will be able to build a top-class 2013 coaching team and we are excited about the season ahead.''
Blackadder's other assistant is Dave Hewett, who is forwards coach.
The Crusaders have made the play-offs every year under Blackadder's tenure, but he has yet to win a title. They came closest last year despite the disruption of the earthquakes but lost to the Reds in the Brisbane final. This year they lost to the Chiefs in a semifinal in Hamilton.
The pressure is now on Blackadder, who is not contracted past next year, to deliver.