Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has revealed how Graham Henry cornered him with difficult questions during his interview to become Steve Hansen’s successor as All Backs coach. Robertson’s candidature was unsuccessful, the position instead going to Ian Foster, Hansen’s assistant.

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It has left Robertson vowing that the next time he applies for the job he will make sure he is as articulate as he can be having learned his lessons from Henry’s unrelenting scrutiny. 

Speaking on the Will Greenwood podcast about his failed bid to coach his country following a number of successful years at the helm of the Super Rugby-winning Crusaders, Robertson explained: “I had bought a new suit for the presentation and in the end I just thought: ‘I’m just going to be myself’, and then the questions just came at me.

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The draw for the southern hemisphere leg of the RugbyPass FIFA charity tournament

“And they were great – I wanted them to challenge me. Graham Henry was on the interview panel and was really deep. He put me in a corner with a couple of questions and he wouldn’t let me out. It was quite a challenging moment and made me think. I left like I maybe hadn’t articulated myself as well as I could have or should have.

“I knew they were coming, and I just did my best. I walked out of there thinking they knew what they were going to get and how I was going to coach it. And I believe I had the rugby public knowing that I was going to give everything and that a potential change was what the All Blacks needed.

“I was clear that I felt I could make a real difference and bring my own personality. I’d coached 80-odd per cent of the players (at Crusaders) and had a lot of success with them. 

“I outlined who I thought would be there for us at the next World Cup in 2023 and where we needed to develop some players, some depth. It didn’t go my way – but I respect the process. If it was about the continuity thing, and if that’s why Ian got it, then great, I’ll get it another time.”

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