Blackadder gets set for new Bath era

Fri, 02 Sep 2016 14:11
Large todd blackadder gestures 80

INTERVIEW: Four new coaches will be gracing the Premiership in 2016/17, but Bath fans will be most excited about former All Black captain Todd Blackadder's arrival at the Rec.

Formerly of the Crusaders, the powers that be at Bath decided the 44-year-old was the man to lead their young English core back to the play-offs just a year after reaching the Twickenham final.

He arrives with immense pedigree, having led the Super Rugby province over seven seasons, reaching the Final on two occasions, and only missing the play-offs once – and Northampton Saints are the first challenge the Kiwi will face in the Premiership.

A man cited by Ritchie McCaw as one of the greatest influences on his career, Blackadder is hoping to have the same galvanising effect on the West Country outfit and admits he feels right at home already.

"It’s been fantastic so far," he said. "I've been here a couple of weeks now and while that may not sound like a long time, I've been made to feel very welcome since I arrived.

"We've already been away for pre-season games and I've got to know all the lads, and I have to say I've been very impressed.

"It's a great group who just want to work hard, so I feel like I've been here for six months already!

"No-one in the organisation at all has really spoken about last year. Everyone went through a bit of adversity, and I sense that if anything there is a little bit more steel that's come out of that.

"My focus is only on the future and making sure we are as well prepared as we can be for this week, so we'll be looking to nail the performance side of things as we don't have the time for anything else."

Blackadder arrives with highly-respected assistant Tabai Matson, who is also vastly-experienced within Kiwi rugby and will be looking to bring all that knowledge to the English game.

And between them, Blackadder is confident they have the quality at Bath already to make a big impact on the Premiership standings come the end of season.

He added: "Every week you've got to put your very best on the line, go out there and perform, and this is a new team with new goals and a new ambition.

"We’ve been putting in some big shifts and making sure we're really well aligned with how we want to play.

"We're lucky; we've got some great eights, nines and tens who are of international quality – that's key to the spine of any side.

"I'm really excited to be coaching in the Premiership – it's a great opportunity for me. When I had to make the decision to come over here, the thing that excited me the most was this competition.

"It's going to be hard every single week in this league, but that excites me, and it's great for me to be able to come in and continue my development in a new competition."

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 01 October 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Griquas 12h00 Bloemfontein
Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers 13h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
South Africa v Australia 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Munster v Zebre 16h00 Thomond Park
Ulster v Ospreys 17h30 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Leinster 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Treviso v Scarlets 19h05 Stadio Monigo
Sun, 02 October 2016
Argentina v New Zealand 22h10 Ascoli Piceno
Wasps v Harlequins 13h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons 14h00 Sixways
Fri, 07 October 2016
Edinburgh v Treviso 18h35 BT Murrayfield
Connacht v Ulster 18h35 Sportsground
Ospreys v Cardiff Blues 18h35 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Sale Sharks 18h45 Recreation Ground
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 5 4 0 1 20
Wasps 4 4 0 0 18
Bath 4 3 0 1 14
Leicester Tigers 4 3 0 1 13
Exeter Chiefs 5 2 0 3 12
Northampton Saints 5 2 0 3 11
Newcastle Falcons 4 2 0 2 9
Gloucester 4 1 1 2 9
Harlequins 4 2 0 2 8
Sale Sharks 4 1 1 2 8
Worcester Warriors 4 0 2 2 5
Bristol 5 0 0 5 1