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'Where is Mark Robinson?': NZR CEO accused of being 'missing in action'

By Ned Lester
Mark Robinson with All Blacks coaches at captains run. Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Former New Zealand Rugby CEO David Moffet has joined the symphony of criticism arising in the wake of NZR’s decision to announce the All Blacks‘ head coach for 2024 within the next four to six weeks. The decision itself has faced a wealth of criticism but the communication, timing and an array of bizarre events preceding the announcement have left much of the rugby public sour.

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In addition to being Chief Executive of New Zealand Rugby, Moffet’s résumé also includes holding the same title in Welsh rugby as well as Sport England.

The sports and business veteran reflected on the past 18 months of NZR’s decision-making and communication, labelling their leadership as well as their capacity as employers “disrespectful”.

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“I basically think that everybody feels that New Zealand Rugby has dropped the ball yet again,” Moffet told The Platform when summarizing his morning of media appearances.

“The other thing too that was a common theme is ‘where is Mark Robinson?’ he obviously is missing in action, I don’t know if they’re hiding him away from the media or what’s going on but he should never have let Dame Patsy (Reddy) front this, that’s the job of a chief executive, not the chairman.

“I can’t imagine any chief executive out there in the business world would leave it up to their chairperson to make the running on this. Their handling of the media is appalling, it defies belief that the people who are running their media are still in post to be perfectly honest with you. It’s been a nightmare.”

Last week, current All Blacks coach Ian Foster took a number of media interviews to voice his opinion on the coaching decision’s timeline, expressing a firm belief that the decision should be made in the weeks following this year’s World Cup.

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Foster also openly expressed doubt over his chances of reclaiming the role, saying it was “pretty obvious” who was atop NZR’s wishlist. This was a reference to the Crusaders’ Scott Robertson admitting to media that he was “just waiting for the NZRU to make the announcements” in regard to his coaching future.

Following NZR’s announcement that went directly against Foster’s recommendation, the All Blacks head coach released a blunt statement announcing he would not be reapplying for his current role.

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Moffet went on to accuse NZR’s board of being in place for the wrong reasons, such as chasing recognition and the novelty of being in close proximity to the All Blacks while not taking their roles seriously.

“Board members would never run their own companies like they (do with NZR) and I think the reason for that is that they see this as a sort of hobby. A lot of them like to rub shoulders with the players.

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“The other thing, nobody knows who the hell they are in their own business world but then all of a sudden they can strike the stage. My other view is, I think their media people read and watch/listen to too much social media and a lot of their decisions are based on what they think will play well on social media instead of actually getting on and doing a job.

“The other thing that I would make about Dame Patsy is that she talked about if they didn’t make this decision now there would be turmoil after the World Cup. Well, I mean you couldn’t get more turmoil than what’s going on at the moment, and for the last 18 months to two years. And why would there be turmoil after the World Cup? There would be an orderly transition from one coach to another, but the All Blacks – unless they’re going to play some Mickey Mouse game for (investors) somewhere – haven’t got a game until the June-July window so I don’t understand what the hurry is.”

The ever-evolving narrative around Ian Foster has now reached a place of sympathy, the villain tag which the coach once held is now being placed on NZR for their lack of support for a key employee who many feel has been hung out to dry on multiple occasions.

“This shows a complete lack of respect for Ian Foster, and that’s been shown for the last 12-18 months. Whoever’s advising them, they’re presumably not getting their HR people involved because you should never, ever treat anybody the way he’s been treated.

“There’s a new breed of Chief Executives coming in who think you’ve always got to be meddling and fiddling with no clear idea of where they want to go. It’s just bizarre, I just shake my head.”

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Comments

2 Comments
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Warren 473 days ago

This assessment is only half correct. Fossy was never equipped, but I'm sure he's done his best. The issue is poor decision-making st the top, poor accountability for their original decision.
By any transpaent criteria he could not have got the job. But now he has the job. Why undermine Fossy now? Everything about this decision making is poor. If I were Dame Patsy, I'd wash my hands of it. I'm not saying Fossy is a patsy. Others can judge

E
Euan 474 days ago

Fozzie 's reluctance to state his plans, plus the pressure on NH unions to fill their coaching positions, has put the NZRFU in a difficult position, where all the candidates might have gone elsewhere if they had not acted now.

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