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New Zealand Rugby CEO on Scott Robertson's start and speeding the game up

By Ned Lester
Mark Robinson, the CEO of New Zealand Rugby welcomes Scott Robertson as the new All Blacks coach. Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

New Zealand Rugby are looking to push the game forward, not just by hiring a new All Blacks coach from outside their usual pathway, but by investigating potential law changes that they hope will speed the game up.

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The union bucked their familiar trend of hiring All Blacks head coaches who had come through as an assistant of their predecessor in 2023, instead hiring Scott Robertson straight out of Super Rugby.

The coach won seven titles in as many years with the Crusaders and holds huge promise for the reigning Rugby World Cup silver medallists.

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“We’re hugely excited for him,” New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson told SENZ. “He’s come into the role as we expected he would, with a huge amount of energy, a huge amount of freshness around his views around the game and how he wants to put his campaigns, teams and management teams together. Our role is really to support him in any way we possibly can to do that.

“We had a great session yesterday, we had the afternoon with some of his team and some of our team, mapping out some different aspects of the next few years and looking back a little bit as well. It was great to see that level of detail and just that level of passion.

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“He’s a former player, a very proud player as we know. He’s connected amazingly well right across the game. He came in before Christmas to see our board and stakeholders and gave a really  clear account of his vision there and since then he’s clocked in, we saw him down at the Black Clash recently, he genuinely loves being around people.

“We all know he’s got a really important job to do but he’s not lost sight of the fact that the role of All Blacks coach has a lot of scrutiny, and that this team’s got to connect with the fans and be accessible and visible but we want to make sure when the time comes, he has all the clear focus he needs to get on and do really well with the team as well.”

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For the All Blacks to return to the mountain top of World Rugby, Robertson will have to prove the expansive style of play synonymous with New Zealand can still break down the toughest of modern defences.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Rugby are on a quest of their own to try and speed the game up.

“I’m really heartened by the conversations since the World Cup,” Robinson said. “Look, at the World Cup don’t get me wrong, we saw some amazing rugby, didn’t we? Fantastic events, spectacles and some amazing rugby on the field.

“But, we saw some contests and some aspects of the game that I think everyone knew were incredibly frustrating for the fans. So, the question is how can we create – and I don’t like using this word around that game – this product that we can all be proud of more consistently, that gets us out of our seats more often,  that people want to talk about for weeks and weeks afterward because it was such a great contest and such an amazing spectacle. That’s where we’re trying to work at the moment.

“The fans are telling us they want more tempo in the game, they want more ball movement, they want more wide sweeping sort of movements across the game, and we think we can create that product.

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“We’re really adamant that the combination of feedback we’re getting from fans, coaches, players and our high performance people is all leading in a direction where we can make a really positive change for the game.”

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Comments

5 Comments
C
CO 170 days ago

World rugby need to look at rugby leagues state of origin officiating to see what a good job looks like. If the RWC final had been allowed to flow the game would've had a magnificent end to RWC, instead a stop/start fiasco that was ruined by the officiating.

W
Wayneo 171 days ago

All this “speed the game up” talk from New Zealand & Australia is a bunch of nonsense. NZ & Aus have had fan engagement problems for decades and all the law changes that have come from them has not solved their problems, in fact has made the game much more unwatchable to the rest of the world and has also caused a lot of kids not to play the game.

Maybe it’s time the NZR & ARU wake up to the reality that Super Rugby is a flop, has never been able to support itself financialy and try something different. Maybe its also time for them to go the professional club rugby route completely and sell of their franchises and to people who know how to run a rugby competition.

Aussies staring down both barrels of bankruptcy yet belligerently refuse to implement their own domestic league similar to the AFL.

Rebels first then who’s next?

B
Bob Marler 171 days ago

Various rules are being tried in the 6N to “speed up the game”. World rugby is on it. For like the last 30 years.

I’d focus on coaching against high tackles and mastering the current rules before pushing to make other changes.

Stoppages for high tackles, getting yellows and reds, slows the game down and ruins the tempo of the game. Also, costs you games.

In England, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) has introduced a mandating that all tackles must be made at the waist and below.

Similarly, South Africa has implemented tackle safety law changes for school and club rugby. These adjustments specify that tackles in open play must be made at the base of the sternum or below. The changes also address the actions of the ball carrier in open play, specifying a “safe zone” between the sternum and mid-thigh accessible to the tackler and prohibiting the ball carrier from entering contact headfirst with the body fully bent and horizontal.

P
Pecos 172 days ago

A bit different from the silly article header a few weeks ago on here saying Razor will “frighten” NZ Rugby (when he talked about keeping an open mind about the eligibility rules).

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