Mark Hammett quietly gets Cardiff coaching job

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 05:00 19/05/2014
Mark Hammett
ROBERT KITCHIN/ Fairfax NZ
CARDIFF COACH: Mark Hammett is heading for Wales at the end of this year's Super Rugby season.

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Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has confirmed he will spend the next three years coaching in Wales.

Hammett has signed with the Cardiff Blues and will head away three weeks after the end of the Super Rugby season.

The 41-year-old father of two announced last month he wouldn't be reapplying for the Hurricanes' head coaching job when his contract expired at the end of his fourth season in charge.

However, he had held back on revealing his future plans to allow the dust to settle on his shock announcement.

"I still hope it's not a major headline," he said yesterday.

"One of the big things is I've tried to keep it fairly low-key so it won't be a distraction. But the team knows now . . . and I've said I'll just let it roll out as it comes out, but I don't want a big fuss."

Hammett will probably get his wish with rumours about a possible move to Cardiff surfacing immediately after he called time on his tenure with the Hurricanes.

"Cardiff contacted me about a year ago and I said it's not the right time, but the way things rolled around, when they knew I was keen to make a move, they got back to me," Hammett said.

"It was the right time for them as well because they'd sorted some things in Welsh rugby around structures and things like that. Things sort of fell into place from that perspective."

His plans with struggling Cardiff, currently eighth on the Pro 12 ladder with eight wins, a draw and 13 losses, sound similar to the rebuild he undertook at the Hurricanes in 2011.

"The club knows very clearly where it's come from and where it wants to go.

"They are realistic that they want to get to a certain place over a number of years rather than a quick fix."

Cardiff fans will have been encouraged by the Hurricanes Super Rugby revival in recent weeks and will no doubt be keen to see how Hammett's final year pans out in coming weeks.

He will replace Phil Davies as coach of the Blues, but will inherit assistants Paul John and Dale McIntosh.

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