Scott Robertson maps out his blueprint for success with the All Blacks

David Skippers
New All Blacks boss Scott Robertson coaching the Barbarians.

New All Blacks boss Scott Robertson.

Scott Robertson has opened up about his position as the All Blacks’ new head coach, what he expects to achieve in his first season in charge of the team and how he aims to gain success.

Robertson comes into the job after a stellar career in charge of the Crusaders where he won seven consecutive Super Rugby championships, from 2017 to 2023.

However, international rugby is a different challenge and he faces a tough schedule in his role as All Blacks coach.

Tough international schedule in 2024

The men in black are set to play 14 internationals in 2024, including a two-Test series in New Zealand against England in July, a difficult Rugby Championship schedule, which includes back-to-back Tests against the Springboks in South Africa, and their end-of-year to Europe where they will take on the Red Rose again as well as France, Ireland and Italy.

The 49-year-old is excited by the challenge which lies ahead for him and his players in the Test arena.

“We’re going to find out straight away. We’ve got to build depth in our squad and give guys and players opportunities, and get as much cohesion straight away,” Robertson said on The Breakdown.

“When I looked at it, I thought we’re going to find out about ourselves and the players that are in front of us.

“Most important thing I’ve got to do, or we have to do as a coaching group, is make sure they’re really clear on how they’re going to play, how we’re going to play.

“What’s our identity? What’s our DNA? And then set them up to play with a lot of clarity, express themselves, have a lot of fun. I’m just looking forward to evolving our game over the years, which is really important, and connect with the wider community.”

An important aspect of any team is experience and after the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks lost the services of experienced campaigners like Sam Whitelock, Dane Coles, Aaron Smith and Brodie Retallick, who all retired from Test rugby after the global showpiece in France.

All Blacks and Crusaders star to miss England series and Super Rugby Pacific season

Robertson admits that losing experience means leadership is also lost, but he feels there is not one specific leadership style which will help a team to gain success.

“One thing I’ve learned over time is the leadership model’s got to suit the team that is in front of you, there’s no one such model, so you’ve got to mould it,” he added.

“Who are you going to bring through in key positions? Who’s ready for the responsibility? Who’s played 50 or 60 Tests? Who’s matured nicely? Who can take over parts of the game?

“And then prepare them to support the captain, the vice-captain, the attack, the defence, whatever it is, and then build their responsibility and capability as they go along.

“We’ve done a lot of work on that.”

With the start of Super Rugby Pacific set to take place in a few days, Robertson is eager for the New Zealand teams to continue leading the way in the competition while also doing well under pressure.

“I want New Zealand teams playing finals. I want them to understand what pressure is and see them under pressure, whatever team it is,” he added.

Keen to visit New Zealand franchises

“I’m looking forward to going in to each of the franchises and looking at how it’s done, everything I can pick up and start building relationships with the coaches and the CEOs.

“More importantly, it’s to see the players perform at the highest level. I asked all the All Blacks who were in the last camp to own themselves, own the ground they’re on.

“The data just backs up your eye. You’ve got to trust your eye, which is really important. I love talented athletes, and you look at their craft and how they can get better. Then you look at whether it is up to international level.”

He also highlighted the key elements of creating a winning culture.

“The first part for any culture is the connection piece and how you get back to the past and where you come from, your sort of origin story,” said Robertson.

“Then it’s about creating the vision of where this group will go, how we’re going to get there and what work ethic it’s going to take.”

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