In a clear signal that change is coming, the Blues and MacDonald have, however, reached an understanding that allows both parties to explore their options beyond this year. Blues chief executive Andrew Hore was reluctant to further overshadow Super Rugby’s opening weekend when approached by the Herald but he confirmed plans are underway to futureproof the franchise’s progress in recent years.
In terms of a potential replacement for MacDonald the Herald understands Dave Rennie and Vern Cotter are in the mix, should the Blues elect to install an experienced mentor. Robbie Deans is said to have been shortlisted when New Zealand Rugby was on the verge of sacking Ian Foster last year. Joe Schmidt, who worked alongside MacDonald last season before joining the All Blacks mid-year, could be available next year, too.
Internally, Blues assistant Daniel Halangahu is highly regarded as a potential Super Rugby head coach. So, too, is defence coach Craig McGrath while Tana Umaga, who returns this season, has filled the role previously.