Hurricanes coach to step down

    2014-04-10 08:35

    Wellington - Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett said on Thursday he will step down from the Super Rugby side when his contract expires at the end of the season after four years in charge.

    The former All Black, who has failed to bring success to the New Zealand outfit and has a strained relationship with fans, did not give a reason for his exit, saying only that he wanted to clear the way for succession planning.

    "This is a decision I have made after much discussion with my family," he said in a statement. "It has not been an easy decision, but we feel the time is right for me to step aside after this season."

    Hammett arrived at the Hurricanes in 2011 as a first-time Super Rugby coach and immediately attempted to install the same disciplined, no-nonsense culture he had experienced in his playing days at the Crusaders.

    In doing so, he sacked high-profile players who did not agree with his methods including Ma'a Nonu and Andrew Hore.

    The clear-out prompted international players such as Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden and Hosea Gear to leave on their own accord and triggered a backlash among fans that Hammett never recovered from.

    Poor results did not help, with the Hurricanes finishing ninth, eighth and 11th in his three seasons in charge.

    They are currently joint seventh on the ladder after three wins from seven games.

    "For now, my sole focus is on the Hurricanes and continuing the job at hand," he said. "I'm really proud of the contribution I have made to this team and the players over the past three seasons."

    Hammett gave no hint about his future intentions, although there is speculation he could take up the vacant coaching position at the Cardiff Blues.

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