Cardiff Blues: Mark Hammett set to depart as director of rugby

Mark Hammett
Cardiff Blues director of rugby Mark Hammett

Cardiff Blues director of rugby Mark Hammett is to leave after just six months, BBC Wales understands.

The 42-year-old former All Blacks hooker was appointed in May 2014, replacing former Wales international Phil Davies.

Blues have won only four of 15 matches in the Pro 12 since his appointment.

Cardiff lost 40-24 to Treviso on Friday, and are ninth in the Pro12 and struggling to qualify for the top tier of Europe competition next season.

Former Blues flanker Martyn Williams:
"It's not a surprise even though it came out of the blue today. He had a three year deal and everyone at the region wanted him to see it through. There were huge expectations but the team just haven't fired. But if there are personal issues then he obviously has to look after his family first."

BBC Wales has contacted the region, who have yet to comment, although an announcement is expected after the weekend.

A key issue is thought to be Hammett's team selection for the recent LV= Cup match against Leicester Tigers.

Blues' weakened side suffered a club record 43-9 home defeat, ending the region's hopes of progressing in the competition.

Personal issues, including Hammett's wife being unable to settle in south Wales and his mother's health, are also factors in his expected departure.

Hammett came to the Blues from Wellington-based Super 12 side Hurricanes, where he was in charge from 2011 to 2014.

He arrived with a reputation for a hard, no-nonsense approach and was appointed after consultation with Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

At the time of his appointment, Blues chief executive Richard Holland said: "We believe his long-term vision for the Blues with take us to the next level and achieve our ambitions.

"We conducted an extensive worldwide search . . . and are absolutely delighted that Mark Hammett will be taking the role."

Blues assistants - former Wales internationals Dale McIntosh and Paul John - are likely to take over as caretaker coaches after Hammett's departure.