Razor could have scalped Rassie

By Lucky Maree

There are only a few coaches in the world who can compete with Rassie Erasmus, and Razor is one of them.

Scott “Razor” Robertson is a fighter and a winner. Robertson, like Rassie, is a new brand of coach. He is innovative, enthusiastic, and shows his emotions. There is nothing of the old-fashioned “quiet dignity” that prevailed with coaches in earlier days. He is flamboyant, he enjoys the game. He loves the players and they love him right back.

However, his appointment only comes into effect after the World Cup.

The way he has been appointed, whether it is rugby or any other commercial enterprise, is a management disaster.

In a year where rugby management at senior level around the world has proved that they can make a mess of anything, this one ranks with the worst of the worst.

How on earth New Zealand Rugby (NZR) can force Ian Foster to remain as All Blacks coach is a mystery. For the team to do anything better than just simply badly at the World Cup, the motivation will have to come from within the ranks of the players themselves. There will be none from any of the management levels. 

Foster is not a man who can come up with surprises under the best of circumstances and he is not going to do it now. He was going to struggle at the World Cup anyway, but now he has a tough mountain to climb. They can still hope to get into the quarter-finals, but they can only dream of getting into the final.

It is tremendously sad to say, but the days of coaches like Warren Gatland and Ian Foster are well and truly over.

Gatland has made the commitment to lead Wales at the World Cup and, regular guy that he is, he will honour that commitment. But looking at him during the Six Nation matches, it is very obvious that he would rather not be there.

Ian Fraser is apologetic in everything he does – even when his side wins.

On the local front, the answer is not yet apparent, but the question can be asked: Is the Jake White era of provincial coaches coming to its end as the John Dobson style of coaching is achieving more and more success?  

Scott Robertson, whether as an All Black flank, or as a coach for the Crusaders, his contribution has always been total and always as a leader.

In accepting the appointment as New Zealand coach, he modestly said, “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.” 

Hell, yes! So he has.

Why Foster has not been excused as All Blacks coach is not yet known. One suspects it is about buying him, and also Robertson, out of their existing contracts. Talk about being penny smart and pound foolish!

Robertson has always made it clear that he wants to coach an international team, and not only the All Blacks. Perhaps New Zealand Rugby thought they had to finalise the deal before he signed with another team, which is understandable. Suggesting that they could have kept his appointment quiet is crazy. It would have leaked out.

Fraser has said that the issue with appointing a new coach before the World Cup has caused, what he called, “an interesting vibe in the group”. 

And that was even before the appointment of Robertson.

How a group of grownups could sit around a table and deliberately hamstring the mighty All Blacks months before the World Cup is a shame, both from a business and a rugby point of view.

And after the World Cup it may not be plain sailing for Razor. To succeed, New Zealand needs a new rugby culture. How that NZR conservative bunch will respond to innovation remains to be seen.

Pictured above: Scott Robertson

Image source: Twitter


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