The Southland Stags rugby coach Brad Mooar has joined the the Crusaders coaching staff for 2016.
He'll join Tabai Matson as assistants to the Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder who's being retained at the franchise for the 2016 season despite his team missing the Super Rugby playoffs this year for the first time since 2001.
The Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said a review of the 2015 season is being conducted, but Blackadder will definitely coach the side again next year with his contract expiring at the end of 2016.
Mooar will replace the assistant coach Aaron Mauger who is leaving to become the head coach of the Leicester Tigers.
Riach said the Crusaders had conducted a lengthy and thorough process to find the most suitable replacement for Mauger and they are satisfied that Mooar is the right man for the role.
"Brad has a fantastic mix of coaching experience and valuable off-field experience as a former solicitor," Riach said.
Blackadder said he was confident Mooar would have a positive impact on the Crusaders team in 2016.
"Brad has proven himself as a very capable coach, and he is also a really savvy, smart man who I know will challenge this group to be better."
Mooar progressed through the Canterbury age grades as a first five-eighth, reaching Canterbury B level before moving to Ashburton to gain more playing time for Mid-Canterbury because Andrew Mehrtens was playing at 10 for Canterbury.
He played for Mid-Canterbury from 1997-99 and then played some rugby overseas before returning to Christchurch to give coaching a go.
His first coaching role was with the Christchurch Rugby Club Colts and then the club's premier team from 2007 to 2011.
In 2011 he became the Assistant Coach of the Canterbury Colts.
In 2013 he moved to South Africa to coach the Eastern Province Kings to a Currie Cup Division 1 title, then become Assistant Coach of the Southern Kings Super Rugby side under Matt Sexton's leadership.
He returned to New Zealand to take up the Head Coach and Director of Rugby role at Rugby Southland in 2013.
Mooar said the opportunity to return with his family to Christchurch and become part of the Crusaders coaching group was too good to pass up.
"It will be a really exciting time to come on board with the changes amongst the playing and coaching groups and even the competition itself.
"I'm going to enjoy my final campaign with the 2015 Stags and then look forward to the next challenge with the Crusaders."
Paul Menzies, Chairman of Rugby Southland, said Mooar will be sorely missed.