22 Mar 2023

Fans and family overjoyed for new All Blacks coach Scott 'Razor' Robertson

6:54 pm on 22 March 2023
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson ahead of the Super Rugby Aotearoa Final against the Chiefs this weekend. Thursday 6 May 2021.

Scott Robertson. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021

A mix of "excitement and relief". That is how Scott Robertson described his emotions a day after he was finally confirmed as the next All Blacks coach.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) on Tuesday announced Robertson will take the reins of the national team for the next four years, from next year.

It followed several months of speculation, guesswork and theorising among the media and the public.

Incumbent coach Ian Foster will take the All Blacks to France for this year's Rugby World Cup, but drew a line in attempts to retain his position beyond the campaign.

The saga has sparked criticism of NZR's process. Players, administrators and fans in Christchurch on Wednesday were overjoyed with 'Razor' Robertson's elevation.

Back in the Crusaders' camp earlier on Wednesday, Robertson cut a relieved figure.

"It's been good, a lot of messages," he said. "It was an early night [on Tuesday]. I was shattered, actually.

"I got home and had big cuddles with the family and reflected."

Scott Robertson Coach of the Crusaders.

Scott Robertson at work. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

A similar sense of relief and exhilaration extended to his family, including parents Jo and Mo, after their son shared the news of his appointment.

"They were quietly nervous and it was an entertaining phone call. I had to tell Dad three times that I had got the job."

'He's just himself'

One player who knew both the All Black and Robertson's coaching credentials was Ethan Blackadder. The loose forward said he expected his coach to bring his singular style to the All Blacks.

"It'll get set out there," he said. "It's the way he connects players, he's got a real unique way and he's just himself."

Many former coaches and players, some All Blacks, and Canterbury rugby alumni have rejoiced over the news.

People RNZ spoke to in central Christchurch on Wednesday were universally positive.

Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge said Robertson had an undefinable quality that players respond to.

"There's something about him. I'm not quite sure what it is, I can't put my finger on it.

"From what I can see, the players want to play for something that is bigger than themselves.

"Generally, it's the jersey they're representing, the community they're playing for but there's also a bit of wanting to play for Razor."

Mansbridge said the recruitment process was well under way to find a new Crusaders coach for 2024.

"We're not panicking."

The Crusaders host Australian frontrunners, the Brumbies, in Christchurch on Friday.

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