RaboDirect Pro12: Cardiff appoint Mark Hammett as director of rugby

RaboDirect Pro12: Cardiff Blues appoint former All Blacks hooker Mark Hammett as director of rugby

Cardiff Blues have confirmed that former New Zealand hooker Mark Hammett will become the club’s new director of rugby.

The 41-year-old, who won 29 caps for the All Blacks between 1999 and 2003, will join the Pro12 region on a three-year deal in August at the end of the current Super Rugby season, where he is currently coach of the Wellington-based Hurricanes.

Hammett will replace former Blues director of rugby Phil Davies, who resigned in March after the region slumped to a 15-10 defeat at Zebre.

The former All Black will be joined by current coaches Dale McIntosh and Paul John after the duo jointly led the region to a revival at the end of the season which culminated in a respectable seventh-place finish.

Under the leadership of Mark Hammett, we believe the Blues can start to once again look forward to a bright future

Richard Holland

“We conducted an extensive worldwide search, with the help of Wales coach Warren Gatland and Gareth Edwards, and are absolutely delighted that Mark Hammett will be taking the role of director of rugby,” said Blues chief executive Richard Holland.

“[Dale McIntosh] and [Paul John] have done a terrific job over the last few months and I know they are looking forward to working with Mark. They will form a strong partnership and we are excited to see that take the region forward.

“I have met Mark and he was the outstanding coach and person for the role. We believe his long-term vision for the Blues with take us to the next level and achieve our ambitions.”

The latest announcement gives the Blues a solid platform to build on going into the 2014/15 season with an up-and-coming coach and a number of players already confirmed, including former All Black Jarrad Hoeata, Italian international number 8 Manoa Vosawai and Welsh international trio Craig Mitchell, Josh Turnbull and Tavis Knoyle.

The Arms Park outfit still have to fill the huge gap left by Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny and are short of an experienced outside-half with Gareth Davies also among a number of players leaving the club.

Questions remain over whether flanker and Wales captain Sam Warburton will play again for the club after signing a central contract with the Welsh Rugby Union rather than the region.

“It has always been our commitment as a region to be sustainable off the field and a competitive and successful on it,” Holland added.

“We’ve made the business sustainable since the return to the Arms Park and now, under the leadership of Mark Hammett, we believe the Blues can start to once again look forward to a bright future.”

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