Sport Rugby

Sunday 20 May 2018

Bath appoint Todd Blackadder and Tabai Matson in new coaching set-up

Todd Blackadder
Todd Blackadder

Bath have named Todd Blackadder as their new director of rugby and Tabai Matson as head coach.

The Aviva Premiership club have been searching for a new coaching set-up since dismissing Mike Ford as head coach in May following a disappointing season in which they finished ninth in the league.

The highly-regarded Blackadder, 44, is a former All Blacks captain who has been in charge of Christchurch-based Super Rugby outfit the Crusaders since 2009, during which time he has taken them to four semi-finals and two finals.

Fijian Matson, meanwhile, has served as Blackadder's assistant coach since 2013 with the Crusaders and is a specialist attack and backs coach. The 43-year-old has also enjoyed success with Canterbury in the ITM Cup and was the attack coach for Fiji at last year's Rugby World Cup.

Blackadder said: "I'm really looking forward to joining Bath - they are an ambitious club, with some very talented players. They play attacking rugby, and have a clear vision of where they want to be. Tabai and I are really excited to be part of that and to develop it further over the coming seasons."

The duo will take up their posts in the next few weeks following the end of the 2016 Super Rugby campaign - the Crusaders were beaten 42-25 by the Lions in the play-off quarter-finals last weekend - and will be supported by current Bath first-team coaches Toby Booth and Darren Edwards.

Booth, Edwards and former Bath captain Stuart Hooper, who announced his retirement in April due to injury, will continue to run pre-season training in the meantime.

Matson said: "Both Todd and I are eagerly anticipating joining Bath, and linking up with Toby, Darren and Stuart as well as the squad and wider team. There is a lot of knowledge in the team and a great squad of players. I can't wait to link up with them and get started."

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