‘Razor is the People’s Coach’ – Scott Robertson praised after All Blacks players’ classy fan gesture ahead of England win

Colin Newboult
Young fans get tickets scanned by All Blacks players. Plus head coach Scott Robertson.

Young fans get tickets scanned by All Blacks players. Plus head coach Scott Robertson.

The All Blacks took fan interaction to the next level ahead of their 16-15 triumph over England in the first of their two-Test series in Dunedin.

New Zealand are known for promoting their culture, as well as having excellent supporter engagement, and they produced another lovely moment on Saturday.

Before the match with the Red Rose, the watching public were surprised to find non-playing All Blacks waiting at the gate to scan their tickets.

Ethan Blackadder was among those to welcome the supporters in and do his bit with the scanner.

Great moment for youngsters

It was a simple gesture but one which was well received. Although there were some accusations of it being a cynical PR exercise, it would have been both exciting and inspiring for the youngsters to see some of their heroes standing there.

New Zealand Rugby have stated their intention to become more ‘fan-centric’ this season while new head coach Scott Robertson has been known for thinking outside the box.

Whether it was the governing body or Robertson who came up with the idea, it is not yet known, but it is doubtful it would have got the go-ahead without the say-so of the new All Blacks boss.

It received praise on social media, with radio presenter Martin Devlin writing: “This is superb. Kids rugby in the morning. Surprise the fans at the gate. Perfect thing for the dirty dirties to be doing.”

One person added: “Fan engagement and buy in, that’s what you want!” before Robertson was praised by another, who stated: “I really like this. Kids getting to meet players. Well done Razor.”

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The age of professionalism has changed the game in many respects, but there are plenty of teams who are trying to retain that fan engagement.

“New broom and all that. Razor is the People’s Coach. That can only be a good thing for the image of the game,” one person wrote.

Not everyone was impressed, however, with another writing: “This is bizarre. They are All Blacks, not gate attendants, with no disrespect to those who do this job every week, I can’t fathom why someone thought this was a good idea.”

Tense opener

The fans watched a tight game as the All Blacks began the Scott Robertson era with a tight victory over England on Saturday.

They were pushed all the way by the visitors, who led 15-10 following Immanuel Feyi-Waboso’s try, but successive Damian McKenzie penalties snatched the win for the home side.

These two teams also do battle next weekend as the two-Test series is concluded with a clash at Eden Park, where New Zealand have not lost for 30 years.

READ MORE: Rusty All Blacks begin Scott Robertson era with dramatic victory over gallant England