June 4, 2023

‘The Professor gave me love for the game’: Scott Robertson discusses his coaching idol

'The Professor gave me love for the game': Scott Robertson discusses his coaching idol

In a week where he received yet another award for his work with the Black Ferns – this time the Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year award at New Zealand’s Halberg Awards – Wayne Smith has received not just praise but also credit from Crusaders mastermind Scott Robertson for inspiring the Super Rugby Pacific champion’s remarkable coaching career.

Wayne Smith’s savvy understanding of the game of rugby has contributed to some almighty success for both the men and women in black, while earning him the nickname “The Professor”.

The Professor’s enthusiasm and understanding for the game rubbed off on a young Scott Robertson, who revealed to Joey Wheeler in an interview for Sky Sport just how the intricate knowledge Smith possesses sparked a newfound love for the game within Robertson.

“I caught it off Wayne Smith,” Robertson said of his love for coaching. “The Professor gave me love for the game, a different love for the game.

“I loved the physicality, I loved hitting people, I loved cutting people in half and I loved the comradery off the field, and then Wayne Smith taught us about the game.

“He was constantly giving us game understanding and that’s what I fell in love with and I thought ‘ooh’ and then I started coaching a local school Christs College and I just knew then, when I had finished if I could set myself up so I went to university and did a degree in recreation management just so I could line things up.

“I’m quite dyslexic and then it took me five years to get that degree, well, Jane helped me most of it, I always say as a joke Jane got a double degree, hers and mine.

“So the foundations were there and then, look I’ve coached for 15-16 years and I set myself up for the next opportunity but the key point is, what I got off Smithy, Steve Hansen and Robbie Deans, I still use today. But my spin on it.”

Elaborating on just what his “spin” looks like, Robertson said “I love connecting people, connect people to get inspired so that they belong in that group.

“Culture is translated basically into care, and how much you care but how much you care you show on and off the field.”

Prior to the interview beginning, Wheeler was instructed there were to be no questions asked about the All Blacks coaching role, despite that being the biggest news story of the moment. Wheeler instead merely referenced the elephant in the room and Robertson replied with a laugh: “well, someone else will address that I reckon. Hopefully very shortly.”

Would you like to receive notifications on latest updates? No Yes