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Scott Robertson clearly has enemies in high places

By Hamish Bidwell
(Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Scott Robertson clearly has enemies in high places.

And, hey, that happens.

Some people’s faces simply don’t fit, so we have to assume that this iteration of the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby (NZR) don’t want Robertson around.

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The man has done all there is to do in New Zealand rugby to be the national head coach. There’s no bar to be climbed, no box to be ticked.

Be it at club, provincial, under-20 and Super Rugby level, Robertson has done nothing but excel. Better than that, he has created environments in which players have performed to their potential.

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And yet we continue to debate his suitability as All Blacks coach and continue to see non-committal answers about his future from NZR.

If they wanted him in the national set up he would be there by now.

Where does he go and what does he do? I honestly don’t know.

But whatever it is, it shouldn’t be here.

Robertson needs to leave this country behind and go and work his peculiar brand of magic somewhere else.

He’d go with my best wishes and I suspect those of many New Zealand rugby fans.

I read the comments on this website of NZR chief executive Mark Robinson with sadness this week. Sadness that he appears to see limited value in Robertson and sadness that NZR are “getting into a review’’ of the just-completed All Blacks season.

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Honestly, what is there left to talk about?

They’ve backed their horse, he’s arguably a donkey and the team are as good as they’re ever going to get under his watch.

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We hounded Warren Gatland out of this country. We lampooned him endlessly when he was Wales and British & Irish Lions coach and then criticised him at every turn when he took charge of the Chiefs.

We made it clear to Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown and Dave Rennie that they had no future here. That their inability to fall into line with every NZR edict meant they weren’t welcome.

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We insist that coaches – such as Robertson must have some offshore experience – despite Ian Foster having none. Conveniently, when our coaches do do well elsewhere, we diminish the currency of those overseas results and suggest these men suddenly don’t have the familiarity with the New Zealand game and are out of touch.

We will now happily send Robertson packing for fear of doing anything to undermine Foster.

We are not so good that we can continue to lose so many good men. Just as the All Blacks aren’t so good that we can continue to insist there’s only one way to do things.

We need as many good coaches as possible in this country. We need them in schools and clubs and franchises, imparting their immense knowledge and a variety of methods and protecting our rugby from intellectual bankruptcy.

The All Blacks are inconsistent because we have become complacent. Worse than that, we’re now frightened of dissenting voices.

We exile those who disagree with the regime, while urging certain media types to defend the governing body at all times.

It’s like watching the Labour Party’s lackeys in action, as everyone seeks to protect their privilege.

Robertson’s record suggests he is exceptional. And, like many people of that ilk, that also means he’s different.

New Zealand Rugby would rather see the All Blacks lose matches – and further damage a once strong brand – than risk having an independent thinker at the helm.

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