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Why New Zealand Rugby need to invest in the 'desirability' of Super Rugby

By Ned Lester
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Scott Robertson bucked a long-running trend when he was announced as head coach of the All Blacks from 2024 onwards. Not only was the announcement of Ian Foster’s successor made prior to the end of the incumbent’s tenure, but Robertson was also the first coach in over a decade to come to the helm of the national team directly from Super Rugby.

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And he’s not alone, having named both Blues head coach Leon MacDonald and Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland as his assistants. The selections leave a gaping hole in Super Rugby Pacific’s coaching landscape, a hole that is yet to be filled in and has pundits concerned over the growing gap in desirability between international and Super Rugby for coaches.

Jamie Wall expressed his concerns over the coaching job market as confounding the topical backlash around the All Blacks’ rest policy, saying it all contributes to the depreciation in interest for Super Rugby Pacific.

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“I just think the entire international coaching setup, like the way that the job market is, is contributing to this problem,” Wall told SENZ Mornings.

“Test rugby is kind of being treated in the same way that say football would treat club competitions, like a Champions League or anything like that.

“International stuff shouldn’t be done like that.

“Everyone’s kind of looking for the next gig and that to me comes right back to the integrity of the competition.”

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Wall says coaches, like players, are in an environment that promotes the idea that if you can’t progress your career in New Zealand, it’s not worth hanging around. The solution is to invest in the desirability of Super Rugby as a destination.

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“The actions here are reflective of the environment that they’re in,” he continued.

“I think that the reason why that it’s got this way is because being an assistant All Black coach is a more preferable job than being a head coach at a Super Rugby team and I don’t see that as being a very optimal situation for rugby coaches.

“It doesn’t happen like that in other sports, it doesn’t happen like that in American sports, it doesn’t happen like that in football.

“Pep Guardiola’s not going to give up being Manchester City coach to go and be assistant coach at an international team, it just doesn’t work like that.

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“If they can fix that and make it so it’s more lucrative and more desirable to be a head coach rather than an assistant, then we’ll start fixing this problem.”

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Comments

12 Comments
g
gordon 394 days ago

The NPC used to get better crowds but the games were hardly ever on TV.
Also the players had to play club rugby locally so you had a connection with them.
Professionalism and TV money killed all that and now sadly club rugby is shrinking and dying.

C
Chris 395 days ago

The mistake of this article is that you think super rugby has fans.
The comp is dead. Look at attendances and TV numbers

i
isaac 395 days ago

There is not much to desire in super rugby esp from a kiwi perspective....its just the kiwi derbies that's fascinating which is like 6-8 matches...apart from that the aussies are weak and apart from Drua playing in Fiji, what else is there for coaches to prove themselves or test themselves against...unless the aussies front up of Japanese teams enter as a champions cup format comp....coaches will continue to leave

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