‘Respect is important’ – Scott Robertson addresses the All Blacks captaincy question

Colin Newboult
New All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson in 2023.

New All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson in 2023.

Scott Robertson will let the dust well and truly settle on the Rugby World Cup before he announces the next New Zealand captain.

The former Crusaders boss recently took over from Ian Foster as the new All Blacks head coach.

Robertson’s first New Zealand game will be in July 2024, but he still has plenty to sort out before then, including the skipper conundrum.

The current skipper

San Cane has been in the role since 2020 – following the retirement of Kieran Read – and will be in contention once again when he returns from his sabbatical in Japan.

However, the 49-year-old may want someone different, and perhaps a player that knows how he operates from his time with the Crusaders.

Cane, who has played his entire professional career at the Chiefs, has had little to no experience of being coached by Robertson.

“I am trying to give a little bit of a runway post-World Cup before I start having conversations around captains,” Robertson told Stuff.

“I think it is important – around respect. I have talked to all the senior All Blacks, I have spent around an hour, or two, chatting around what they learned from the World Cup.

“I am starting to build an understanding, and what they think is really important is what they want to protect. But what do we need to evolve, on and off the field? They have had time to reflect, and they have been honest, which has been great.”

Due to Cane’s move to Japan, he will not be available for the Chiefs during the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season.

Other Japan deals

Two other key All Blacks, Ardie Savea and Beauden Barrett, will also spend time in Asia.

Barrett has agreed a deal with Toyota Verblitz but his long-term future is uncertain. New Zealand Rugby are attempting to bring him back on a multi-year contract, but nothing has yet been signed.

The playmaker is now 32, which means Robertson might prefer to look at younger options going forward, but Robertson insists that he would welcome his return.

“Look, the guys who have played in Japan have come back and played good rugby. He’s hugely experienced, and it doesn’t matter where you are, you have to play well,” the new All Blacks boss said.

“That’s what All Blacks do. That was the message to him. Play well, we will watch you from afar, we will give you feedback and keep connected.”

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