BATH have extended Todd Blackadder's contract as director of rugby until at least 2020 despite recent speculation over his position arising from the club's poor start to the season.

A defeat to Bristol and draw with Gloucester, combined with last term's disappointing sixth-place finish in the Gallagher Premiership, led to concern for his future after only two years at the Recreation Ground.

But in an exhaustive open letter to supporters, chief executive Tarquin McDonald has announced that Blackadder is to stay on beyond the end of his original contract in 2019 as part of a succession plan that will see former Bath captain and current general manager Stuart Hooper ultimately take charge.

"We can confirm the extension of Todd's contract by one year to June 2020, a point in time when Todd may be ready for the next stage of his journey and the club for the next step in its evolution," McDonald said.

"There is the opportunity for a further extension beyond this point, a decision Todd and the club will make together at the appropriate time.

"Todd has committed that he will move on when the club is ready. That readiness will be predicated on our next step, which will be when Stuart Hooper proves his readiness to take on the leadership of our rugby department.

"Stuart has outstanding leadership qualities and tremendous integrity, but also the willingness to be challenged, an unbelievable work ethic, a strategic mind-set, and the ability to get the best out of people.

"He also cares very deeply about the club, the players and staff, and the wider community.

"Part of Todd's role, in addition to delivering weekly performances, is in developing Stuart for the future."

Forwards coach Toby Booth and backs coach Darren Edwards will not have their contracts renewed when they expire at the end of the season. Instead, Bath will seek alternatives.

Since their shaky start to the season, the club have reeled off successive wins against Harlequins and Northampton and on Saturday they face champions Saracens at Allianz Park.