Blackadder injury provides time to work on game

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But Blackadder suffered a shoulder dislocation at the end of the Mitre 10 Cup campaign with Tasman and the resulting surgery means it is likely to be May before he can return to action for the Crusaders.


His two-year apprenticeship in the talent-filled Crusaders loose forward cordon should have seen him ready to assume a more consistent playing role in the side. That was especially the case in the wake of the side losing so much loose forward experience in the post-World Cup transition.


Any side would feel the loss of players of the calibre of Kieran Read, Matt Todd and Jordan Taufua.


With his knowledge of systems, and emerging experience of his own, Blackadder could have been expected to play a key role in the rejuvenation of his specialist area.


Blackadder said he wasn't frustrated by the opportunities others like Sione Havili, Tom Sanders, Ethan Roots, Billy Harmon and Callum Grace might be able to seize in his absence. They were all quality players with the ability to make an impact with the side.


He is more focused on getting himself right and then he would worry about returning to the side.


"I've accepted that everyone is going to have a rugby injury. It's actually part of the game, it's furniture in the game so I accepted that pretty early. That has helped me with my mindset so it's actually a great and enjoyable process getting back to play so I'm just looking forward and enjoying it," he said.


The enforced break did have its benefits as he had been able to put some time into specific areas of his game.


"You've got to make the most of it when it happens," he said.


"I want to try and come back and be really physical and do the basics really well and be consistent and then there's a couple of little minor details in my game I want to get better at too – turning ball over and attacking opportunities," he said.


Success, as part of the Crusaders over the previous two years, was something Blackadder was used to but he added to that with his involvement in Tasman's outstanding run to win last year's Mitre 10 Cup campaign, something the side had been building towards for many seasons.


"It was an absolute blast, it was such great fun. We had a great team environment, great coaching and we really gelled," he said.


"We've been working towards what we achieved for a number of years even when Leon [MacDonald] was coaching and we were just fortunate enough to do it this year but it's been bubbling for a while and Rangi [MacDonald] had a massive help in that.


"It was our goal to win the premiership and we set out to do it. We had a lot of belief throughout the whole campaign and it was wicked to see it pay off," he said.


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