Brendan Venter writes that Scott Robertson should beat Ian Foster and Jamie Joseph in the race to replace outgoing All Blacks coach Steve Hansen next year.
Hansen brought an end to his incredibly successful eight-year reign as All Blacks head coach after the World Cup in Japan, where New Zealand finished third after a disappointing semi-final loss to England.
Replacing a coach of Hansen’s pedigree and experience is bound to be a difficult decision for New Zealand Rugby, who have approached around 26 candidates to apply for the position.
Warren Gatland, who will coach the Chiefs in 2020, confirmed that he turned down the opportunity to put his name in the hat due to his responsibilities as British & Irish Lions coach in 2021.
In his column for Stuff.co.nz, Venter writes that it should leave Foster, Joseph and Robertson as the three favourites to get the job.
‘I find it extraordinary that NZR have approached as many as 26 candidates to apply for the position and go through the interview process,’ Venter writes. ‘They might want to leave no stone unturned but sometimes you get more messed up if you fail to keep it simple.
‘Warren Gatland, who will take over at the Chiefs in 2020, has said “no” to applying for the All Blacks job so, for me, it’s a three-horse race between Ian Foster, Jamie Joseph and Scott Robertson.
‘If NZR opt for Foster then it’s more of the same, if they select Joseph it would mean a complete overhaul and if they pick Robertson they would be embracing a coach who would be a breath of fresh air and offer a generational change.
‘When it comes to Robertson you cannot say he is a fly-by-night or has just emerged on the scene because he hasn’t. The 45-year-old coached the New Zealand under-20 team to the 2015 Junior World Championship, won the ITM Cup with Canterbury twice and has guided the Crusaders to successive Super Rugby titles in the last three years, an unprecedented feat. The other tick in his coaching box is Robertson plays in a style that has got energy, but the Crusaders are not just a chuck-the-ball-around team.
‘Taking everything into account, I believe Robertson is the best candidate to succeed Hansen because he is coaching half of the All Blacks team already and I would back his appointment.’
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