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'Today's not really about Razor. Today's about Ian and his team'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

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A penny for the thoughts of Scott Robertson after it was announced on Wednesday by New Zealand Rugby that Ian Foster will coach the All Blacks through to the 2023 World Cup in France and won’t be replaced by the serial trophy-winning Crusaders boss. Amid the crisis that was the All Blacks’ recent run of five defeats in six matches, there was much support for the idea that Robertson should be given the national team’s head coaching post at the expense of Foster.

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However, that speculation cooled in the wake of last Saturday’s unexpected win by the All Blacks against the Springboks in Johannesburg and the ultimate outcome of the latest NZR review was to rubber stamp the continuation of Foster in the job rather than seek out a replacement.

“We have a huge regard for Razor [Robertson] as a key part of the coaching landscape in this country and we hope he has a great future in the game here,” said NZR boss Robinson at the Foster media briefing. “But today’s not really about Razor. Today’s about Ian and his team into this new era.”

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The outcome could now become the incentive for Robertson to try his luck coaching abroad. It was earlier this month, when interviewed on The Big Jim Show by Jim Hamilton, that he outlined for the first time his long-term Test rugby coaching ambitions.

Asked about not getting the All Blacks job when he originally went head to head with Foster for the role vacated by Steve Hansen following the 2019 World Cup, Robertson said: “It’s one job [All Blacks coach] and when someone doesn’t give it to you you have to think differently, what opportunities are out there?

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“I’ll be coming into my seventh year as the Crusaders coach next year, I have loved it all, it has been incredible but no one last in a job forever so I am open. It’s probably the way I can answer it. If New Zealand Rugby wants me, great. If there is another club, country, probably country, I wouldn’t go to a club now. I really want to go to Rugby World Cup, I genuinely want to go to a couple.

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“I’m 47, I’ll be 52 by the time the next Rugby World Cup comes around [Australia 2027 after France next year]. I want to get to two or three and test myself, push myself. I am open (to offers), yeah,” he revealed, adding, “I want to win Rugby World Cup but I want to win it with two different countries. I haven’t said it publicly before but it would transcend.

“It would be great to win a World Cup with your own country which I want to do, that is the foremost thing, but I would love to do it with another country. I’m not sure what order it is. I’m not sure how that plays out, those decisions are not mine. They are somebody else’s decisions but I would love to win two and have a different expectation, different culture.

“You have got to adapt to the country that you are coaching and get the best out of them. It’s when someone goes, ‘How did he do that? That is pretty special. He won seven championships with his club and then gone away and done that’. People will go, ‘Okay, he has got the group, the players will play for him’.”

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