Following the sacking of Mike Ford two months ago much speculation had garnered in the media regarding who Ford’s potential successor would be. It has finally been revealed this morning by the club that Todd Blackadder and Tabai Matson have been appointed as director of rugby and head coach of Bath respectively.
This will not come as much of a surprise to fans as the two had been widely tipped in the media over the last number of weeks to be the front runners, however what it will do is go a long way in addressing the frustrations and despair felt amongst Bath fans.
Both Blackadder and Matson have a wealth of premier southern hemisphere experience between them, having lead the Crusaders over the last eight seasons, they reached the playoffs each season including two Super Rugby finals only to lose out at the last hurdle. While some fans and pundits in New Zealand have been quite despondent to Blackadder’s tenure as the failure in capturing a Super Rugby title over eight seasons is nowhere near the standards and requirements set by the rugby-impassioned people of Canterbury, his appointment will nevertheless come as a relief to the West Country side.
Blackadder is now poised to join the squad who are now a couple of weeks into their pre-season preparations following his sides Super Rugby quarter final defeat at the hands of Johanessburg-based Lions at the weekend.
The 12-time capped All Black now takes over a Bath side which is very much in a transitional period following the departure of high profile players such as Sam Burgess, Kyle Eastmond, Rob Webber and Ollie Devoto, as well as captain Stuart Hooper who was forced into retirement due to injury.
However, what with the recruitment of Welsh internationals Toby Faletau and Luke Charteris coupled with the proven quality held in the squad in the form of Francois Louw, George Ford, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson, fans can expect an expansive and flowing brand of rugby under Blackadder’s and Matson’s guidance, given the type of rugby that was on display at the Crusaders.
“We are delighted that Todd and Tabai will be joining the Club,” said Tarquin McDonald, Managing Director of Bath Rugby (via bathrugby.com).
“They bring a wealth of experience and provide a great fit for the club in terms of what we want to achieve on the pitch, the way we want to play, and our desire to develop home grown talent.
“They are both excited about the opportunity to help shape the Club’s future, and they will work very well alongside our current First Team Coaches, Toby Booth and Darren Edwards, and Stuart Hooper.”