Blackadder won’t be intimidated by Deans’ record


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Newly appointed Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder who has signed for a three year term says that he will not be intimidated by Robbie Deans’ extraordinary record.

Blackadder is already a Crusader legend but matching Deans’ record of winning seven out of thirteen Super Rugby titles contested since 1996 is going to take some doing.

Blackadder, 36 three year contract will see him coaching the Crusaders with with Mark Hammett and Daryl Gibson as his assistants.

All three were founding members of the Crusaders in 1996, all three have gone on to play for the All Blacks and all three are in their 30s and still cutting their teeth in the coaching ranks.

Blackadder who served as Crusaders technical advisor this year says that he is not intimidated by the legacy of success that Deans helped create at the Crusaders.

“I know he created a real legacy but I see it as an opportunity for us to get in there, build on the legacy of the past and take it forward,” Blackadder told NZPA.

“There is a real culture and history of success here so we do have to make sure we get all our ducks in a row to put a team together with the right culture and leadership so that we can perform.

“There will be absolutely no lack of trying, no lack of effort; we will do everything we possibly can to maintain the team’s proud record and build on the past.”

Given Deans record, there is no question that Blackadder and his assistants will be under intense pressure to extend the franchise’s extraordinary record of success.

“We will set our own agenda with our own expectations and we will go out there to do our very best. That’s all you can ask.”

The former Crusaders skipper, who began his coaching career in Britain, including a term as Scotland’s assistant coach, said that he felt deeply honoured when he learned his application for the job had been accepted.

“It still really hasn’t sunk in. It was such an honour and a privilege to be a player (for Crusaders) and after all these years to come back and coach the Crusaders is an honour.

“I’m just absolutely excited and delighted to be part of the Crusaders once again, but in a different role,” said Blackadder who stopped playing for the Crusaders in 2001.

Blackadder says that he is delighted with the coaching team around him at the Crusaders.

Hammett, who was Deans’ assistant this year and also put his name in the hat for the top job with the Crusaders , will coach the forwards while Gibson returns from a playing and coaching stint in the Britain to coach the backs.

Blackadder admitted the coaching team as a unit were young in years.

“I’d like to think there’s some old heads on young shoulders.

“The first person I wanted to be involved in this coaching team was Mark Hammett; he’s a good forwards coach and is very technically sound.”

Blackadder’s appointment throws in doubt his future role with Tasman, who he is coaching in the Air NZ Cup this season.

He said his continuing role with Tasman was unresolved at this stage.

“There is going to be a transition but we have yet to discuss that.

“As far as I know I will continue to coach Tasman through to the end of the season but we have yet to have those discussions.”

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