Todd Blackadder: Bath director of rugby 'watched two years of games'

Todd Blackadder (left)
Todd Blackadder has come to Bath with his number two, new head coach Tabai Matson

New director of rugby Todd Blackadder says he "watched every game Bath has played in the last two years" to prepare for the new Premiership season.

The 44-year-old replaced Mike Ford this summer, moving to England having been in charge of New Zealand-based Super Rugby side the Crusaders since 2009.

Bath, who were Premiership finalists in 2014-15, finished ninth last term.

"It was just to get myself a feel of the type of rugby," the former All Blacks captain told BBC Radio Bristol.

"I wanted to understand the conditions, the way the game is refereed and the way it is played."

Targeting two new centres

Blackadder, who led the Crusaders to two Super Rugby finals, says he wants to sign two centres to add depth to Bath's squad in the midfield.

The Blue, Black and Whites have lost England backs Ollie Devoto - to Exeter - and Kyle Eastmond - to Wasps - this summer.

"We are probably two midfielders light when I look at the overall season, so we're working hard to try to fill those gaps," he continued.

"I'm a big believer too that if you give someone an opportunity, they'll go out there and do a job, so if we have some breakages, we could select some novices."

Guy Mercer
New club captain Guy Mercer has made 90 first-team appearances for Bath

One announcement Blackadder has already made is to name back row Guy Mercer as Bath's new club captain, after Stuart Hooper retired last season, with fly-half George Ford chosen as vice-captain.

"I'm massively excited about the job," Bath academy product Mercer, 26, told BBC Points West. "I'm honoured to have been asked to do it.

"We've tried to learn a lot from last year because it isn't what anyone wanted at the club.

"I don't think there is more pressure this year but certainly the boys have a whole lot of intrinsic motivation to do better."

Bath begin their 2016-17 campaign away to Northampton Saints on Saturday, 3 September.

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