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Blackadder signs Bath extension as Hooper is named as his successor

Todd Blackadder will remain Bath’s director of rugby until the end of the 2019-20 season, but will step aside once the Premiership side feel Stuart Hooper is ready to take over.

After a mixed start to the current campaign, Bath have recorded back-to-back wins under Blackadder and find themselves sitting fourth in the table ahead of a trip to defending champions Saracens this weekend.

The 2018-19 season was set to be the last of Blackadder’s three-year deal, but Bath have confirmed they have taken the decision to give the New Zealander a 12-month extension.

Blackadder’s new deal includes the option to extend it further, but that clause will only be activated if they feel former captain Hooper is not ready to take charge.

A statement from chief executive Tarquin McDonald read: “We can confirm the extension of Todd’s contract by one year to June 2020, a point in time when Todd and Priscilla [his wife] may be ready for the next stage of their journey, and the club for the next step in its evolution.

“There is the opportunity for a further extension beyond this point, a decision Todd and the club will make together at the appropriate time. 

“It is a mark of Todd’s unique character, rare among coaches, that we are able to hold such discussions openly and to make decisions together for the best of Todd, his family, and the club.

“Todd has committed that he will move on when the club is ready. That readiness will be predicated on our next step, which will be when Stuart Hooper proves his readiness to take on the leadership of our rugby department.”

Hooper was forced to retire on medical advice in 2016 as the result of a back injury, the 36-year-old taking up a backroom role five months later.

He currently works as Bath’s general manager but McDonald has bigger plans for the former lock.

“Stuart has outstanding leadership qualities and tremendous integrity, but also the willingness to be challenged, an unbelievable work ethic, a strategic mind-set, and the ability to get the best out of people,” McDonald added. 

“He also cares very deeply about the club, the players and staff, and the wider community. Does Stuart have more to learn? Definitely. Can he lead the department in two years? Absolutely.”

Meanwhile, McDonald confirmed coaches Toby Booth and Darren Edwards will leave Blackadder’s staff at the end of the season.

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