As speculation continues to grow about who will next coach the All Blacks, leading candidate Scott Robertson has revealed what he told his Crusaders players about his link with the job.
The six-time Super Rugby champion has long been seen as the obvious heir to incumbent Ian Foster’s throne, with Robertson himself suggesting an appointment was imminent.
Instead, NZ Rugby has confirmed a decision won’t be made for at least another 4-6 weeks, with no further comment expected until then. Its announcement will only increase conjecture, with the painstaking scrutiny not ready to die just yet.
For Robertson, the process isn’t new to him or his players, and he admits having a conversation about his connection with the role.
“I just had a quick chat with the leadership group and just said, ‘Look, there’s potential for this to become something quite popular with the media’,” he said.
“Which it is, ‘but look, I’m here present with you and just tell me if you feel like we need to have any conversations along the way’.
“Just be open and upfront, that’s the best way to do it and they’ve been great. A lot of [them] are experienced crew, it’s been going on for a few years now.
“We’re on, you’ve just gotta have the chat and be upfront.
“A lot of the boys aren’t even into mainstream media, they might see it second or third-hand, but they’re into the different forms of media.
“One or two might mention it to me, but it’s not at the front of the list at all.
“I’m just doing my job today and whatever happens in the future, I’ll deal with it then. Look, from experience, I’ve been around for a long period of time, it can drive a team.”
After hinting an announcement on the process could be “in the next day” just a few weeks ago, Robertson now fronts a much more tightlipped persona.
He also plays down the level of distraction on his players, as the Super Rugby defending champions look to bounce back from a shock opening defeat to the Chiefs.
“I think it’s a question for everyone else, rather than myself,” said Roberton. “I’ve got a job to do and a job to finish here, that’s my clear focus and I come in with the same energy every day.
“You can look into it what you want, but I’m here. All questions are to them, all questions are to NZR.
“A few critical key things we need to focus on to get right. We weren’t far away in a lot of areas of the game, and we did a good job making sure we get those right and then get excited for next week.
“I think it’s important you focus on just the things you need to get right, and there are some awesome efforts and incredible performances. There are just a couple of things in the game we need to get better at.
“Get those right and the rest works itself out, that’s been our focus in round one. It has cleared the mind nicely and early for us.
“We would like to perform at our best in round two.”
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