Wellington - Crusaders coach Todd
Blackadder announced Tuesday he will leave the New Zealand Super Rugby club at
the end of the 2016 season.
Blackadder, 44, said that by then he would
have been in charge for eight years and a change was needed.
"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," he said.
The Crusaders are the most successful team
in Super Rugby history with seven titles, but they have so far failed to win
the competition under Blackadder.
During his seven seasons in charge, they
have made the final twice and semi-finals four times but did not make the
play-offs this year for the first time since 2001.
Blackadder said he knew there would be
speculation about his future and wanted to clarify the situation before the
2016 campaign began.
"One of the important things to come
out of our 2015 season review is that distractions were a problem for us,"
"So that's why I was keen to make my
intentions clear before the season begins to avoid my future becoming a
distraction for the team."
Blackadder, who was a foundation player for
the Crusaders in 1996 before launching his coaching career, said he had no
plans for the future beyond working on the 2016 season.
Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said
the team was "incredibly lucky" to have had Blackadder as a player
"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," Riach said.
The Crusaders said "an open and
contestable" search for a new coach would begin after the upcoming season