Scott Robertson reflects on whether he will be the All Blacks’ ‘saviour’

Colin Newboult
Scott Robertson being announced as All Blacks head coach in 2023.

All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson looks on.

Scott Robertson insists that it will take more than one person to make the All Blacks the best team in the world once again.

The 49-year-old took over from Ian Foster as the head coach following the Rugby World Cup, which saw them succumb to South Africa in the final.

Foster endured a difficult four-year cycle in charge, but it almost ended on a high as they came mightily close to lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in France.

Incredible record in Super Rugby

Robertson, who created a dynasty with the Crusaders in Super Rugby, is expected to take New Zealand to the next level.

Some people are describing the former back-row as the country’s ‘saviour’, but he insists that he can only be successful with the right people alongside him.

“It’s an interesting narrative. I just back myself and the rest works out. I’ve got some good people around me, I think that’s the first thing. I’ve got an incredible pitch-in group,” he told Newstalk ZB.

“They bring a lot of ideas to life. One thing, I’m an ideas man so I need people to close and finish for me.

“For the team I’m going to have a really good story and a theme that will drive a lot of our passion, a lot of our connection piece to the public. That’s something and I love and what the jersey deserves.

“I know the international game is a game of small margins and I know you have to prepare your group to be world-class every week and that’s something I look forward to.”

Robertson also understands the extra scrutiny that comes with being the All Blacks head coach and that the pressure will be unrelenting.

“It’s part of the job. People are going to write an article if you win or lose and then people are going to write another article to create content,” he said.

“That’s opinion pieces, columnists – that’s part of who we are.

“You have to deal with that, you have to be strong, you have to be very thick-skinned, you have to understand it’s coming but make sure you have a really good support base.”

Adversity

While Foster presided over a number on unwanted firsts during his time in charge, it is also true that the international game caught up with New Zealand.

It means that Robertson may not have it so easy and that the big win percentages former head coaches Graham Henry and Steve Hansen achieved may well be a thing of the past.

Should the All Blacks get off to a bad start under Robertson, or have a poor run at some stage over the next four-year cycle, the 49-year-old will undoubtedly have his critics, but he is embracing the challenge.

“Adversity is going to come, it’s how you deal with it and your mindset towards it. That’s the way I shape it in my mind,” he added.

“I love it. I want the arena, I want the big stage… it excites me, so I walk towards that.”

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