New Zealand Rugby CEO on Scott Robertson’s start and speeding the game up


New Zealand Rugby are looking to push the game forward, not just by hiring a new All Blacks coach from outside their usual pathway, but by investigating potential law changes that they hope will speed the game up.

The union bucked their familiar trend of hiring All Blacks head coaches who had come through as an assistant of their predecessor in 2023, instead hiring Scott Robertson straight out of Super Rugby.

The coach won seven titles in as many years with the Crusaders and holds huge promise for the reigning Rugby World Cup silver medallists.

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“We’re hugely excited for him,” New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson told SENZ. “He’s come into the role as we expected he would, with a huge amount of energy, a huge amount of freshness around his views around the game and how he wants to put his campaigns, teams and management teams together. Our role is really to support him in any way we possibly can to do that.

“We had a great session yesterday, we had the afternoon with some of his team and some of our team, mapping out some different aspects of the next few years and looking back a little bit as well. It was great to see that level of detail and just that level of passion.

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“He’s a former player, a very proud player as we know. He’s connected amazingly well right across the game. He came in before Christmas to see our board and stakeholders and gave a really  clear account of his vision there and since then he’s clocked in, we saw him down at the Black Clash recently, he genuinely loves being around people.

“We all know he’s got a really important job to do but he’s not lost sight of the fact that the role of All Blacks coach has a lot of scrutiny, and that this team’s got to connect with the fans and be accessible and visible but we want to make sure when the time comes, he has all the clear focus he needs to get on and do really well with the team as well.”

For the All Blacks to return to the mountain top of World Rugby, Robertson will have to prove the expansive style of play synonymous with New Zealand can still break down the toughest of modern defences.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Rugby are on a quest of their own to try and speed the game up.

“I’m really heartened by the conversations since the World Cup,” Robinson said. “Look, at the World Cup don’t get me wrong, we saw some amazing rugby, didn’t we? Fantastic events, spectacles and some amazing rugby on the field.

“But, we saw some contests and some aspects of the game that I think everyone knew were incredibly frustrating for the fans. So, the question is how can we create – and I don’t like using this word around that game – this product that we can all be proud of more consistently, that gets us out of our seats more often,  that people want to talk about for weeks and weeks afterward because it was such a great contest and such an amazing spectacle. That’s where we’re trying to work at the moment.

“The fans are telling us they want more tempo in the game, they want more ball movement, they want more wide sweeping sort of movements across the game, and we think we can create that product.

“We’re really adamant that the combination of feedback we’re getting from fans, coaches, players and our high performance people is all leading in a direction where we can make a really positive change for the game.”





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