May 14, 2015 / 2:16 AM / 2 years ago

Rugby-Coach Matson spurns Blues to stay at Crusaders

WELLINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) - Canterbury Crusaders assistant Tabai Matson has spurned a reported offer to join the Auckland Blues as the long-term replacement for head coach John Kirwan, the seven-times Super Rugby champions said on Thursday.

The New Zealand Herald reported that the highly-regarded former Fiji centre had been proposed by Kirwan as a long-term successor under a plan aimed at securing his own job after three seasons of under achievement in Auckland.

"I love this team and I certainly was not out looking for a new coaching role because I am very happy here," Matson said in a news release.

"It is true that I was approached by the Blues about whether I would consider a move to their coaching team in the future should the opportunity arise.

"Aside from those initial discussions, nothing further in the way of any formal offer was considered.

"I made the decision not to take those discussions any further because I am committed to the Crusaders."

Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach welcomed the end to the distraction caused by the reports as the team look to keep alive their hopes of making the Super Rugby playoffs.

"He is an excellent coach and it would be no wonder if his skills were sought after elsewhere," he said.

"However, Tabai has assured us that he is not considering any move to the Blues or any other team at this point in his career."

Matson would also be in the frame to step up as Crusaders head coach if they fail to make post-season play for the first time since 2001 and Todd Blackadder's eight-year reign is brought to a close. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Julian Linden)

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