Scott Robertson addresses concerns around Crusaders bias ahead of first All Blacks squad announcement

Colin Newboult
All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson speaking to reporters in Japan in 2024.

All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson speaking to reporters in Japan in 2024.

New All Blacks boss Scott Robertson has a longstanding connection with the Crusaders, but he insists that it will not influence his selectorial decisions.

The 49-year-old finally got the opportunity to become the New Zealand head coach following the Rugby World Cup after building a dynasty at the Christchurch outfit.

Robertson took on the role at the Crusaders in 2017 after stints with Canterbury and the New Zealand U20 side.

Remarkable success

He then led them to seven Super Rugby titles in as many seasons until his departure at the conclusion of the 2023 campaign.

That coaching role came after spending seven years as a player at the Crusaders between 1996 and 2003.

As a result, Robertson was asked in an interview with Sky Sport NZ as to whether there would be worries about bias towards his former team.

The interviewer brought up ex-All Blacks head coach John Hart – boss between 1996 and 1999 – who was accused of favouring Auckland during his time in charge.

“I will pick the best players for the All Blacks, that’s the key part of it,” the new head coach responded.

Robertson then went on to reveal his management philosophies and how he intends to get everybody on the same page, adding: “One of the cornerstones of being a great coach is to be a good selector and managing people.

“You don’t work for me, you work with me and work for us, and you serve each other. The management group, the selection of them and the players is really critical.

“And the coaching staff, it’s absolutely paramount that you get people who can challenge you, love you, hug you, have great conversations with you; help you be better and be connected.”

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All Blacks connections

Robertson is not just a famous Cantabrian; he is also a former All Black, having earned 23 caps for the national team between 1998 and 2002.

He featured in the 1999 Rugby World Cup but missed out four years later before departing overseas for Perpignan.

It is that connection with the national team which the 49-year-old believes can help keep him in check when it comes to selection, as well as the various cultural intricacies of the position.

“It helped me being an All Black. I understand my roles and responsibilities and the legacy part with the people that have done incredible things before me, either in the red and black jersey or the black jersey,” he said.

“I’ve said my thank yous, I’ve said how proud I was to represent and be a part of a great organisation, now my role’s changed. It’s similar in a lot of ways, just a lot bigger!”

Robertson is set to name his first All Blacks squad ahead of the England series following the conclusion of the Super Rugby Pacific season, with the final taking place on June 22.

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