Scott Robertson talks 'the art of coaching' in first interview as All Blacks coach
The seven-time Super Rugby champion coach has been busy finalising his wider staff having already revealed his assistant coaches and a handful of other appointments.
A stint in France to catch some of the Rugby World Cup action preceded a gig assisting Eddie Jones’ Barbarians team, who lost to Wales in a farewell showpiece for 170-Test legend Alun Wyn Jones. But, now it would seem it’s all systems go in All Blacks camp.
The highly anticipated Razor era is upon us and the coach is under no illusions of the challenge ahead of him, dealing with an exodus of veteran talent as well as the jump to international-level coaching.
His first interview as All Blacks coach was predominantly focused on promoting gut health, as he and former All Black Israel Dagg joined forces with the Gut Foundation to raise awareness for the “review your poo” initiative, which aims to protect Kiwis from bowel cancer. He was also inevitably asked about the All Blacks.
“You’ve got your models, you’ve got your structures and you coach the best team in front of you,” Robertson told New Zealand’s AM show.
“I’ve got the way I coach, you don’t change yourself as a person, but you might change a few things around your models.
“Test matches are different, they’re played a little bit differently. You’ve got to bring people together pretty quickly and create a strong narrative and connection.
“That’s the stuff I love – get a story going that connects us. I’m looking forward to it.”
Indeed, the narratives Robertson carves for each campaign have become well-known as the self-proclaimed storyteller works to offer his team a crystal clear identity.
While Ian Foster this week took time to emphasise the amount of young talent that has been blooded in recent seasons in the black jersey, Robertson will lose the services of eight of New Zealand’s finest players in 2024. Names like Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith, Brodie Retallick and Richie Mo’unga will be absent from the coach’s first team sheet.
“You can never replace experience,” Robertson said. “But you can replace that with talent and coach them, and give them opportunities to perform. That’s the art of coaching.”
With remarkable expectations on his shoulders, the coach has been chewing through “a lot of interviews”, bringing “a great crew together” to lead one of the world’s most successful teams into another World Cup cycle.
Robertson says he will travel around the country to pool the local rugby communities’ knowledge and perspectives on how best to take the game forward.
“Now it’s time to get around the grounds, talk to people, get a lot of information about guys who are currently in there and who are leaving.
“So, I spend a lot of time talking to those individuals, getting the tip of the gold out and what’s required for the All Blacks, they believe, moving forward.”