Guinness PRO12
Hammett to leave Cardiff for 'personal reasons'
ESPN Staff
February 25, 2015
Mark Hammett was in charge of Cardiff for just six months © Getty Images

Cardiff Blues have announced that director of rugby Mark Hammett is to leave his post for "personal reasons" after just six months in charge.

In a statement, the Blues revealed Hammett had asked to leave his role and "return home with his family at the earliest opportunity".

Hammett said: "I have enjoyed my time with Cardiff Blues, and it was always my intention to bring success to the region over the full length of my contract.

"However, I must put my family first, and therefore it is with regret that I am leaving the role."

Former New Zealand Test match forward Hammett agreed a three-year deal last summer, but things have not worked out for him in the Welsh capital.

Although the Blues have reached this season's European Challenge Cup quarter-finals, they are currently struggling in the Guinness PRO12.

The Blues are 10th in the league, with just four wins from 15 starts, and were beaten 40-24 by fellow strugglers Treviso last week in what turned out to be Hammett's final game at the helm.

"I would like thank Peter Thomas and the board of directors for their support in allowing me to return home as soon as possible," he added.

"I would also like to pay tribute to the amazing fans at Cardiff Blues for their backing throughout my time here, and I hope they understand the difficult decision I have now made.

"I wish the region every success and look forward to seeing the team develop in the coming years. Finally, I would like to make a personal thank you to the players and staff for their hard work and dedication."

The current coaching staff, headed by former Wales internationals Paul John and Dale McIntosh, will now take charge, starting with next Sunday' s league game against Edinburgh.

Blues chief executive Richard Holland said: "We were naturally very disappointed and surprised when Mark informed us of his decision. However, we fully understand the personal reasons he has given, and he has our full support.

"We appointed Mark last summer as part of a long-term vision for Cardiff Blues. He has worked tirelessly in the role since his arrival in Wales, and we always felt Mark was the right man to take us forward, right up until his decision to leave.

"Having spoken to Mark at length, I know he has not taken this decision lightly. However, he feels he must return to New Zealand.

"We now look to take the region forward under new leadership and, as we did when we appointed Mark, we will take our time and involve the right people to help us to make the right decisions for Cardiff Blues.

"We have a very talented squad of players and coaching staff at Cardiff Blues, and I know they will rally together in the coming weeks as we look forward to a big European quarter-final with [Newport Gwent] Dragons and a number of important Guinness PRO12 fixtures."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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