Todd Blackadder named Bath director of rugby, with Tabai Matson head coach

Todd Blackadder
Former Edinburgh forward Todd Blackadder has previously been part of Scotland's coaching staff

Premiership club Bath have named Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder as their director of rugby and his assistant Tabai Matson as head coach.

Blackadder replaces former head coach Mike Ford, who was sacked in May after a ninth-placed league finish last term.

The former New Zealand captain, 44, had been in charge of Super Rugby franchise Crusaders since 2009.

"Bath are an ambitious club, with very talented players, and a clear vision of where they want to be," he said.

"Tabai and I are really excited to be part of that and to develop it further over the coming seasons."

Previously director of rugby at New Zealand club Tasman, Blackadder led Crusaders to two Super Rugby finals, having captained Crusaders to three Super Rugby titles as a player before leaving in 2001.

Blackadder - a lock or flanker in his playing days - captained New Zealand in 10 of his 12 Tests.

He also played for Edinburgh and was an assistant coach both there and with the Scottish national team.

"Todd and Tabai bring a wealth of experience and provide a great fit for the club in terms of what we want to achieve. They will work very well alongside our current first-team coaches, Toby Booth and Darren Edwards, and Stuart Hooper," managing director Tarquin McDonald said.

Ford led Bath to the Premiership final in 2014-15 but they won just nine of their 22 league matches in 2015-16, finishing 17 points below the play-off places.

That, together with a disappointing third-placed finish in their Champions Cup pool, contributed to Ford's departure on 16 May. Forwards coach Neal Hatley also left Bath last season to become England scrum coach.

Analysis

BBC rugby union reporter Chris Jones:

"Since appearing in the Premiership final last May, it has been a tumultuous period for Bath, so this confirmation will provide some much-needed security for the club's supporters.

"Blackadder heads to the northern hemisphere with a fine reputation, although under his stewardship the Crusaders were unable to claim a Super Rugby title.

"He has a big job to do; last season's campaign was a chastening one, and although high-class players such as Taulupe Faletau and Luke Charteris have moved to the Rec, there is a big hole in midfield, with Ollie Devoto and Kyle Eastmond both departing.

"Blackadder will also need to make sure kingpin fly-half George Ford is onside, with the England man disappointed with the decision to sack his father Mike, who as head coach took Bath to the brink of the Premiership title in 2014-2015."

Top Stories