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The less said by Scott Robertson the better

By Hamish Bidwell
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

No-one really wants Ian Foster and Scott Robertson to be filling the void.


Not least, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) you would assume.

But in the absence of any demonstrable leadership from our national body, it’s been the incumbent and prospective All Blacks coaches both seeking to provide – and presumably receive – clarity on the issue.

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Is someone going to be announced as the head coach from 2024 on? Could Foster be for the high jump even sooner?

Does Robertson believe he’s going to be appointed? Or is he merely being led up the garden path again?

I will confess that these questions interest me far more than Super Rugby Pacific or Aupiki. They are fundamental to the future of the game in New Zealand and are instructive about the governing body.

And yet they remain unanswered.


The health and wealth of our game is indelibly tied to the identity of the coach. You only have to witness the current decline in results under Foster to see that.

Losing is unpopular and bad for business, no matter how charismatic the front man. Foster is neither a public relations asset, nor the owner of an accomplished coaching record.

But even he looks marginally better than NZR are at the moment, because he’s at least expressing some care for the team.

Now, we can argue that his recent media offensive was purely selfish. That his motives for granting interviews to supportive journalists were not remotely related to the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup aspirations.


That here was a man lobbying for sympathy and support, while ignoring the inconvenient truth that his record doesn’t entitle him to a great deal of either.

Robertson would be wise to keep his thoughts to himself as well.


He has, through his outstanding results with Canterbury, New Zealand under-20 and the Crusaders, spoken volumes already. All he does by talking about his All Blacks aspirations is risk putting his foot in it.

The less said by him the better, particularly as it relates to what NZR might be or should be doing around the appointment of the next head coach.

But this is what happens when an organisation allows things to drift. When they fail to take ownership for, arguably, the most important process in their remit.

Well, we’re sadly at the point now where two of the would-be coaches are spruiking their credentials on the street corner.

That’s shambolic and undignified and yet more glaring evidence of NZR’s inability to control any narrative.

The sun will come up tomorrow and we’ll eventually have an All Blacks coach appointed for 2024 and beyond.

But, in the meantime, NZR actually needs to lead and to remind their employees of who’s paying their bills.


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