Wales boss talks up 'Razor' as he leaves Chiefs, writes Josh Graham
Gatland backs Robertson for All Blacks job
Warren Gatland has urged New Zealand to appoint Crusaders boss Scott Robertson as the next All Blacks coach.
Speaking on the day his return to Wales to take over from Wayne Pivac was announced, Gatland insisted Robertson was the standout candidate to replace incumbent Ian Foster, who is contracted through to the end of next year’s World Cup.
Robertson, 48, has won six Super Rugby titles on the bounce and Gatland, who came up against ‘Razor’ in his previous role as Chiefs director of rugby, could face him on the international stage after calling on New Zealand Rugby to act swiftly to avoid missing out.
Robertson has made no secret of his international ambitions and has previously been linked with the England job with the RFU poised to reveal Eddie Jones’ future in the next 48 hours.
“There’s one person at the moment in New Zealand who’s been incredibly successful, in terms of Razor,” said Gatland at a press conference in Hamilton.
“And he deserves an opportunity, if they were going to make a change. You can’t deny his results, they just stick out like a sore thumb. That’s the way that I look at it, he’s an obvious choice.
“There’s only one standout person, and New Zealand should be doing everything they can to make sure they can secure his services long-term.”
Foster has come under increasing pressure after presiding over New Zealand’s first home series defeat in 27 years against Ireland, while also losing to Argentina at home and surrendering a 19-point lead at Twickenham to draw with England in 2022.
And Gatland warned the All Blacks they must start proactively planning for the future now and cannot wait until after the World Cup to decide the future of the team or they risk missing out on the sport’s top coaching talent.
He added: “Things have changed in world rugby, in the past, New Zealand would advertise for All Black positions and think that 30 coaches in the world are going to put their names forward, and then all of a sudden they realise, oh actually we’ve only got two people put their names forward, which is what happened last time.
“So you’ve got to change your focus in terms of identifying the people that you want to talk to, you’ve got to keep that as confidential as possible, and that process should be starting now.
“You can’t wait till after the World Cup and think people are going to come knocking on your door, because that doesn’t happen in professional sport.
“And that’s how other countries are doing it at the moment, they’re drawing up lists of a small number of candidates that they want to talk to over the next few months, and some of them are looking to make announcements early next year.”
The three-time British & Irish Lions head coach refused to be drawn on speculation that he was in the running to be the next England boss after agreeing to return to Wales, where he spent 12 successful years before leaving after guiding the team to a fourth-place finish at the 2019 World Cup.
Gatland said: “I’m not talking about the RFU, I’m here to talk about the Chiefs and Wales.”
However, the New Zealander did not rule out taking on the All Blacks job in the future if he returns to winning ways with Wales, insisting he does not plan things and will let nature take its course.
He explained: “I don’t have an agent, I don’t have a CV. So I’m a great believer in what will be, will be.
“Those opportunities come about from performance and results.”
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