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Dan Carter loses Crusaders vice-captaincy

Dan Carter will be able to focus on the Crusaders new attacking game plan

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Article Published: Tuesday 19 February 2013

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder is making sweeping changes to the way the Crusaders play Super Rugby in 2013 as well as changes in the team management.

One of the changes brought in for the 2013 Super Rugby season is the removal of Dan Carter as vice captain.

Regular Crusaders captain Richie McCaw is on sabbatical until sometime around early July so Kieran Read will captain the team in his absence.

The removal of Carter means that the Crusaders will field a revamped group leadership for their season which begins against the Blues in Auckland on March the 1st.

Blackadder has revealed that George Whitelock and Ryan Crotty will share the vice-captain's responsibilities which will allow Carter to focus on his game.

The Crusaders coach is adamant that Carter is happy to step aside and let Whitelock and Crotty shoulder the responsibility.

"He (Carter) has taken it really well. If anything we are just wanting to unburden 'DC' a little bit," Blackadder told Fairfax NZ News.

"A lesson learned from the past is that when you have got guys in the All Blacks leadership roles, and they have that added responsibility, it just doesn't stop when they leave the field.

"It is constant. They are having a lot of leadership meetings which are a distraction."

"We just want them to come back to the Crusaders and play well rather than have the expectation that they have to lead."

Carter who lives in Auckland will probably welcome the move in some respects as his wife Honor is expecting their first child in April.

Blackadder noted last year how his players were physically drained when they came back from All Black duty in June last year and then struggled with the Crusaders.

Whitelock and Crotty are unlikely to feature for the All Blacks in June so when they return in July they will be in a refreshed state following the month-long break

Read is expected to captain the All Blacks in June against France with Carter as his deputy so the Crusaders will have an established back up leadership group heading into the play offs if they make it that far.

Blackadder said that relieving Carter of the vice-captaincy will give him more free time and he will be able to opt out of some of the off-field jobs with the Crusaders.

"He probably won't go to as many leadership meetings but he will contribute in other ways," Blackadder said.

"And that is because he wants to - not because he has to. And there is a real difference there."

Meanwhile Blackadder said that he has kept in touch with winger Zac Guildford who took indefinite leave from the Crusaders to sort out his personal problems.

Blackadder would not say whether Guildford would return this season and the The New Zealand Rugby Union have yet to say whether they will hold a misconduct hearing but his counselling seems to be going well.

"I have been in touch with Zac quite a bit through text messaging and can tell through what he is saying it (his rehabilitation) is having a huge impact on him ...

"If what come out of this is that the guy can come back to play, that would be fantastic."

"But there are a lot of things that have to happen before that. "

"The NZRU are the people he has to front up to ... But the Crusaders would love to have Zac Guildford back as a new man with a clean slate."

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