Former All Black Leon MacDonald has been appointed as an assistant coach at the Crusaders.

MacDonald, a former fullback who played 56 tests, is Scott Robertson's first appointment since taking over as head coach from Todd Blackadder, now coach with Tabai Matson in Bath.

MacDonald, the current head coach of Tasman, will coach the backs at the Crusaders after performing a U-turn last year when he agreed to replace Aaron Mauger at the franchise, but then decided not to. He will remain as head coach of the Makos in the Mitre 10 Cup.

In a statement, the Crusaders said MacDonald will work alongside current assistant backs coach Brad Mooar, with an assistant forwards coach still to be appointed. It is unlikely to be current forwards coach Dave Hewett.


"This is an exciting step forward in my coaching career and I can't wait to be involved in Super Rugby again," MacDonald said. "I have coached with Razor [Robertson] for the New Zealand Under-20 team and I have a great deal of respect for him as a head coach. It is also awesome to be able to continue working with Tasman and I believe that this new role will put me in a strong position to continue developing talent at that union," MacDonald said.

Robertson said MacDonald, who has signed a two-year contract, was significant appointment.

"Leon and I know each other well, having played together for many years and coached together with the NZ Under 20 team. We already know how each other operates and we know that we can work well together, so this appointment will really help us to achieve a smooth transition to the new coaching team in 2017. I am hugely impressed with Leon as a coach and I know that the skills, experience and energy he will bring to the group will be of immense value to us," Robertson said.

MacDonald represented the Crusaders for 11 years between 1997 and 2008. He played for the Chiefs in 1998.