Blackadder keen on more tour matches

Date published: June 19 2014

Crusaders boss Todd Blackadder wants his team to play more midweek matches against rugby's Test nations.

Crusaders boss Todd Blackadder wants his team to play more midweek matches against rugby's Test nations.

Christchurch's AMI Stadium was filled to capacity to watch the Crusaders go down 38-7 to England, in the home side's first outing against an international team.

Blackadder skippered the All Blacks midweek side during their tour of South Africa in 1996 and believes the concept of Test nations facing provinces or franchises was “fantastic” and he congratulated “whoever organised this”.

“It's a great opportunity for England and for us,” he told Fairfax Media.

“I know what it's like to be a midweek All Black.

“For those guys [in the England team on Tuesday night], they probably haven't had a lot of opportunities and this was their opportunity to have a hit-out, as well.

“I think it's a win-win. It's great that England were here in Christchurch and great that their focus was around the earthquake. We certainly missed them here at the World Cup.”

Blackadder said the Crusaders would not say to the chance of playing against another international team.

“It's certainly good for the touring team and it's also really good for teams like the Crusaders and the Blues, last year when they played France,” he added.

“It's a wonderful occasion. You should never underestimate how much of an impact it will have on young men and their future careers.”

Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach echoed Blackadder's sentiments that more midweek matches would be worthwhile additions to touring teams' schedules.

“We would like to see more of them. I think it was a really exciting development when the French played the Blues last year.”

With 17,300 fans present at the sold out match, the Crusaders made an estimated $25,000 profit.

“It was wonderful, special – the result aside,” added Riach.

“There was an immense amount of goodwill from the RFU and the England team.

“We received an overwhelming number of comments about what that game meant to the city.

“We had some dignitaries with us who were delighted Christchurch was able to host and enjoy it as an historic event.”