Rugby World Cup: 'Stay away' order to All Blacks coach-in-waiting Scott Robertson from NZ Rugby, not Ian Foster

As the All Blacks prepare for their final World Cup pool match against Uruguay, they've been caught up in the off-field controversy around the presence of future coach Scott Robertson at the tournament.

Speaking on South Africa's Super Sport coverage, former All Black Justin Marshall claims Robertson has been barred from attending their games in France.

Newshub's Ollie Ritchie confirms the seven-time Super Rugby champion coach has been at the World Cup, scouting teams he will face, when he takes over the All Blacks reins from Ian Foster next year.

Scott Robertson, Ollie Ritchie & Ian Foster.
Scott Robertson, Ollie Ritchie & Ian Foster. Photo credit: Photosport/Newshub

"He was seen at the Argentina-England clash, but he hasn't been seen at an All Blacks game yet," said Ritche. "Marshall had some thoughts on why that might be."

Marshall told Super Sport: "They feel he's too big a distraction on the current players, because they might want to chat with him, might want to impress him, so Ian Foster said no."

Ritchie reports that's not quite the case.

"I understand NZ Rugby are the ones that have made a call here. I understand they suggested he stay away, certainly from All Blacks trainings, because they feel that would be an unnecessary distraction for the team.

"Whether or not they indicated to him he should stay away from All Blacks games is unclear. Scott Robertson is now back in New Zealand, so he'll be taking those games in from his couch in Sumner.

"Certainly, this is an off-field distraction the All Blacks could do without, as they prepare for a must-win to book their quarter-final spot."

The claims continue the tension that surrounds the early appointment of an All Blacks coach beyond this tournament.

NZ Rugby broke from tradition to make its selection in March, rather than waiting until after the World Cup and risk losing Robertson to offshore recruitment bids. 

Irked that his World Cup performance could not be considered, Foster chose not to re-apply for his role, leaving the Crusaders maestro as the logical successor.