24 Nov 2015

Blackadder's crusade comes to an end

3:19 pm on 24 November 2015

Retiring Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder won't contemplate his future until after the 2016 Super rugby season.

Blackadder announced on Tuesday that 2016 will be his eighth and last season at helm of the franchise, which he's taken to two Super rugby finals but never won the title.

Blackadder said he hasn't spoken to any clubs about possible coaching roles but an overseas role is on the cards.

"Once I get the season over I will certainly have a look and re-evaluate where I am with my career and my future and what my better half wants to do."

"If I was to do that (look for another job) during our campaign that would be the exact distraction I am trying to avoid so I am just really going to focus on the Crusaders and try and nail a really good year."

Next season will be Blackadder's eighth in charge of the Canterbury team but he has yet to secure the Crusaders a Super rugby title, having finished runner-up twice.

"Moving on at the end of the 2016 season is the right thing for me and the right thing for the team," Blackadder said.

"I have been so fortunate to be able to do my dream job for all of these years, but eight years is a relatively long time in coaching and I feel that the time is right for someone else to take the reins and lead the team in their own direction in the future," he said.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder Photo: Photosport

"One of the important things to come out of our 2015 season review is that distractions were a problem for us last season, so that is why I was keen to make my intentions clear before the season begins to avoid my future becoming a distraction for the team during the 2016 season."

"There were a lot of distractions through the (2015) season. All Blacks coming back, managing game time, coaches were looking at their next job and were away for weeks during the campaign, other franchises were poaching our coaches. There was the big World Cup out there and players coming back that weren't fit and ready to go at the start of the season. Slow starts. All these things were massive distractions," he said.

Blackadder took over from Robbie Deans as head coach in 2009.

He has coached the team to four Super Rugby semi-finals and two finals, and the final against the Waratahs in 2014 marked his 100th game as Crusaders head coach.

Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said Blackadder had been a huge part of the fabric of the Crusaders since playing in the inaugural team in 1996.

"Toddy is one of the original Crusaders and he has shown a consummate commitment to this team since day one," he said.

"His leadership qualities were immediately apparent as a player so it was no surprise that he went on to captain the Crusaders team for five seasons, as well as becoming the Canterbury and All Blacks captain. It also seemed almost inevitable that he would return as a coach one day, as he did in 2009," he said.

"He has a kind of cult hero status around these parts, and that's because of the incredible passion and loyalty that he has always displayed for this team."

Blackadder said he had no firm plans yet beyond the 2016 season and was in no hurry to make any.

"I am thinking no further ahead than the season that is in front of me."

The Crusaders will wait until the end of next season to start recruiting for Blackadder's replacement.

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