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Crusaders' focus on 2016: Blackadder

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/06/2016

The Crusaders' focus remains firmly on the here and now, and not on the impending coaching change at the Super Rugby franchise, coach Todd Blackadder says.

Blackadder is stepping down at the end of this season, his eighth in charge.

Canterbury and New Zealand Under-20 coach Scott Robertson was named last Friday as his replacement, beating present assistant coaches Tabai Matson and Dave Hewett to the job.

Blackadder says the announcement of Robertson's appointment is exciting news for the organisation going forward.

But there are no plans for his successor to work alongside him in the coming weeks as part of the transition.

"Internally, we just really want to finish what we've started," Blackadder said on Monday.

"We've circled the wagons little bit here. We'll just focus on making sure we nail this campaign.

"By having `Razor' in the environment it's more a focus for next year and we won't all be here."

The Crusaders top the overall Super Rugby table while the competition is taking a break for the June international window.

Blackadder said distractions could derail a team because "suddenly you're thinking about next year already".

He said Matson and Hewett were obviously disappointed to have missed out and he was proud of the way they had handled the setback.

"They knew Friday a week ago and they've just turned up and been the most professional you could ever be," he said.

Blackadder captained the Crusaders to three of their seven titles. As coach, he has taken them to two finals.

He wasn't sure where his own rugby future lay after this season.

"I've got a few irons in the fire, but it's not a priority at the moment."

The Crusaders will have a warm-up fixture against the Highlanders in Oamaru on Thursday as part of their preparations for Super Rugby's return in the first weekend of July.

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