Rugby: Next All Blacks coach Scott Robertson rewards loyalty in assistant coaching appointments

Atop his checklist of desired qualities, All Blacks coach-in-waiting Scott Robertson admits he has rewarded loyalty in his choice of national assistant coaches beyond 2023.

One month after he was confirmed as Ian Foster's successor, the successful Crusaders coach has confirmed a predictable staff that has a 'getting the band back together' feel about it, while also decimating Super rugby stocks for next season.

Blues head coach Leon MacDonald played alongside Robertson for Canterbury, the Crusaders and the All Blacks, and served under him as a Crusaders assistant in 2017.

Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland was Robertson's assistant coach with Canterbury, while Scott Hansen is his current Super Rugby assistant. 

Incumbent Jason Ryan will retain his current All Blacks role in the new line-up, after previously helping Robertson to success with the Crusaders. 

"I've focused on loyalty," admitted Robertson. "They've all been loyal to me as a coach, I've worked closely with all of them.

"They've been loyal to NZ rugby and coached all through the grades in many teams.

"Trust comes with loyalty, so you go with people you know. They know me and will back me, but also challenge me - that's an important part of it as well.

"Everyone's got their own way of doing it and it's about being professional, not personal."

Two other qualities played into the selection of MacDonald, Holland, Hansen and Ryan - success, but also their own desire to follow their own career paths.

"They're experts in their craft," said Robertson. "They've gone on to be head coaches somewhere else, or gone away and found out about themselves as a coach, their areas of strength.

"Now we all come back and join up and connect to be a really strong coaching group."

Scott Robertson and Scott Hansen
Scott Robertson and Scott Hansen. Photo credit: Photosport

He expects that familiarity will help the coaching team align quickly, when they take charge next year.

Robertson insists the coaches will also serve as selectors, a slight deviation from recent years, when All Blacks legend Grant Fox and former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt sat as outsiders on the selection panel, although some peripheral input will remain.

He admits the jump to international rugby will present different challenges to Super Rugby, although Ryan (with New Zealand and Fiji) and Hansen (with Japan) have experience at that level.

"Test football is different, there's different pressures and pressure cycles," he conceded. "It's different to Super Rugby, we know that.

"Having played it and been around it and watched it for a long period of time, you look at the trends. The game will play different and you have to adapt to it, and as a coaching group, we will."