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'How do you know if you're ready?': Matt Todd on hanging boots up for coaching

By Ned Lester
(Photo by Peter Meecham/Getty Images)

Matt Todd hadn’t even farewelled his playing career when the opportunity to become an assistant coach at the Crusaders came along.

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The 25-time All Black has spent the past five years playing in Japan but got involved with Canterbury’s NPC team in a coaching capacity in 2022 and hit the ground running. He joins incoming head coach Rob Penney’s coaching staff, having been selected for his services as breakdown guru.

Heading into what is a vastly different challenge, Todd is at peace with his new venture spelling an end to his storied on-field career.

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“I guess that’s part of the decision,” he told SENZ Mornings. “But I’m happy to hang up the boots because I was very fortunate with the career I had. So, when this opportunity presented itself, to be able to be back involved with the Crusaders, it was too hard to turn down. So the playing days are done and dusted, the boots are hung up.”

The change naturally comes with some nerves, which Todd admits to, but the Crusaders centurion has some experienced heads in his contact list to lean on for advice.

“I’ve spoken to a few people about it, like how do you know if you’re ready to coach at this level? And their answer was ‘You don’t until you get in there’ and I guess you’ve just got to trust yourself and trust those that have made the selection that they know what they’re looking for and they think I’ll compliment the group nicely and that we’ll work nicely as a cohesive coaching group.”

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The Crusaders’ ownership and management have been praised by current coach Scott Robertson for their holistic leadership and expertise, traits that bode well for the newcomers.

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There will also be continuity of the Crusaders’ identity within the new crop. Todd and Penney are set to join current coaches Tamati Ellison, James Marshall and Dan Perrin in 2024 and beyond.

“When I left I thought it was the end of my involvement with the Crusaders,” Todd added. “But as the last few years unfolded I started to get involved in some coaching and certainly last year coaching Canterbury gave me a taste of it and I really enjoyed it and it’s just the way things panned out with availability coming up that this opportunity presented itself.”

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