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Matson, Mauger handed Crusaders posts
11:07 AEST Wed Nov 28 2012

Former All Blacks midfield backs Tabai Matson and Aaron Mauger have been appointed assistant coaches at the Crusaders for the 2013 Super Rugby season.

The pair will join head coach Todd Blackadder and assistant forwards coach Dave Hewett in a new-look structure following the departure of assistant Daryl Gibson, who subsequently signed as an assistant at the NSW Waratahs.

Last month Matson guided Canterbury to a fifth successive NPC title as head coach while Mauger was his assistant.

Both are stalwarts of Canterbury and the Crusaders and had contrasting international careers.

Matson, 39, played five tour games for the All Blacks in 1995-96. He also played two Tests for Fiji at the 1999 World Cup and embarked on a club career in Europe and Japan until 2006.

His first coaching assignments were in Japan and Queensland before becoming Canterbury assistant to Rob Penney in 2009.

Mauger, 31, played 45 Tests, mostly at inside centre, from 2001-07. He played for English club Leicester before a back injury forced his retirement in 2010.

Blackadder said the pair would be a welcome addition to the powerful franchise.

"Bringing our coaching resource up to four dedicated coaches to allow a more specialised focus on our defence and attack play was one of the key requirements we identified in our review of the 2012 season," Blackadder said.

"With this coaching team I believe that we have the right mix of experience in the different facets of play to perfectly complement our players and bring out the best in each of them."

The Crusaders have won seven of the 17 Super Rugby titles on offer since 1996 but haven't tasted success in the four seasons since Blackadder took the helm.

They were beaten finalists in 2011 and exited in the semi-finals three times, including this year's loss to eventual champions the Chiefs.


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