Matson set to leave Crusaders for Blues job

Crusaders assistant coach Tabai Matson has been in talks with Blues players and board members in Auckland about joining the Auckland side and Sir John Kirwan from next year according to reports.

The Crusaders have a bye this week and according to the NZHerald Matson visited the Blues this week to sound out a move to Auckland.

The Crusaders are ninth in the overall standings but still have a chance of reaching the play offs but there is concern about his activity as the Crusaders still have to play the Blues at Eden Park later this year.

Matson’s visit to Auckland will no doubt but Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder in a difficult position as not only does he face losing an assistant coach but also losing one to a direct competitor.

The situation is different to Aaron Mauger leaving for Leicester Tigers as they do not play the Crusaders. Matson’s meeting with Blues players is a clear conflict of interest and is of great concern ahead of the meeting between the two teams on June 6.

The Crusaders could now ask Matson to resign his New Zealand Rugby contract if he indicates that he wants to leave them for the Blues before it becomes a bigger distraction than it already is as some of their players are understood to be talking about it.

Blues coach John Kirwan is already resigned to his team not making the finals but it is reported that he has been talking to Matson since March and has been ramping up his efforts towards saving his job.

The reports in the NZHerald suggest that the Blues board are happy for Kirwan to stay on with the Blues despite three years of under achivement under him and due to his willingness to change for the better they will not advertise for applicants of his job.

The plan apparently will see Matson taking over from Kirwan as head coach for the 2017 Super Rugby season.

The Crusaders were keen to keep Matson on but the former All Blacks and Crusaders midfielder apparently has his heart set on furthering his coaching ambitions in Auckland.

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