All Blacks legend sets demanding targets for Scott Robertson after ‘unacceptable’ four years

David Skippers
All Blacks players Rugby World Cup 2023 - Alamy.jpg

The All Blacks in action during the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Now that Scott Robertson has taken over New Zealand’s coaching reins, the three-time world champions should return to the days when they were the dominant force in the international arena.

That is the word from legendary All Blacks scrum-half Justin Marshall, who said it is unacceptable that his former team have recently not maintained their high standards from years gone by.

Lost 14 Tests in four years

Since their defeat to England in their Rugby World Cup semi-final in Japan in 2023, the All Blacks have lost 14 Tests in the last four years under the guidance of former head coach Ian Foster, who was replaced by Robertson after they suffered a narrow defeat to the Springboks in last year’s World Cup final in France.

“I feel very strongly about it. All the way through to the next World Cup, where we want to win it, is vitally important for us to make sure we continue to create history, we continue to protect our history,” Marshall told The Platform.

“The fluctuations of the last four years since Ian Foster took control is unacceptable, and we’ve got to look at that.”

Marshall pointed out that while the All Blacks had some great achievements, there were also several disappointments which should not be ignored.

“Yeah, there were moments that were great, and there was success, but equally, there were big major disappointments in our history,” he said.

“Losing to Argentina for the first time in our history, losing a Test match to Argentina for the first time on our own soil. Losing to Ireland for the first time on our own soil, losing a Test series for the first time.

“Those types of things are not acceptable. Getting beaten by South Africa by a record score. That’s not the All Blacks.”

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New Zealand are currently in third position on World Rugby’s official rankings – behind South Africa and Ireland – and Marshall believes it’s imperative that Robertson restores the country’s pride, which has taken some blows during Foster’s coaching tenure in recent years.

“I think what we’ve got to realise is that every Test match between now and the Rugby World Cup is vital,” added the 50-year-old.

Focus on winning every Test

“It’s important that we go out there and we’re focused on winning every single one, no matter what the cost and no matter how difficult the opposition is.

“If we can do that, then that generates momentum to win big tournaments like the Rugby World Cup.

“My expectation levels are very high because I feel the last four years have been unacceptable.

“There’s been some success, but really, when you think of what I’ve just said, and the losses and the change in history that has been there over nearly 100 years, there’s been some hurt there big time. Everybody feels that.”

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