Rugby Championship

Surfing for an All Blacks' coach on Robertson's edge

2018-08-05 18:26
Scott Robertson
Scott Robertson (AP)

Christchurch - The drums are beating for a breakdancing, surfer dude to coach the world champion All Blacks after Scott "Razor" Robertson guided the Crusaders to their ninth Super Rugby crown.

The laidback 43-year-old, who likes nothing better than to be among the waves, has built a phenomenal record as a rugby coach when ashore.

The Crusaders' 37-18 victory over the Lions in Christchurch on Saturday gave him two Super titles from his two years in charge of the side and an impressive 34-3 win-loss record.

After a standout playing career which included 23 Tests for the All Blacks and four Super crowns with the Crusaders, Robertson's first head-coaching role was with Canterbury in 2013 and they won the New Zealand premiership.

In 2015, he guided the Junior All Blacks to win the Under-20 World Championship, and when his teams win the big matches, Robertson's unorthodox nature comes to the fore as he celebrates with his trademark breakdancing routine.

WATCH: Scott Robertson at his break-dancing best!

"He'd be the perfect next, next All Blacks coach with a few more Super Rugby coaching years behind him and perhaps also a bit of international experience," wrote New Zealand Herald rugby writer Gregor Paul.

When Robertson next renews his contract with the Crusaders "it could include a get-out clause to accommodate a switch" to the All Blacks should Steve Hansen step down after the 2019 World Cup, suggested Fairfax Media's Richard Knowler.

With his unkempt hair and happy-go-lucky persona, Robertson does not fit the established coaching mould.

He has had to combat dyslexia and gets his message across as a "bullet-point and pictures man".

Current All Blacks coach Hansen describes him as unique.

"He's his own man, Razor - he's different," Hansen said, adding he bring "an infectious excitement with him."

Robertson may be unorthodox, but his coaching credentials cannot be questioned, with rugby always on his mind.

"In some capacity I am always thinking about it," he said.

"It's just continuous. If it's not that, then I am looking at the surf report."

Crusaders skipper Sam Whitelock sums up Robertson as "kind of a surfie dude".

"But the thing he brings is that energy, that's something when you come in on a Monday - you are beaten-up, you are sore and you are tired, you're right on the brink - and he comes in with a smile and energy, and straight away gets you up."

Robertson's immediate target is another Super title and he has rejected talk of chasing a lucrative contract overseas.

"I've always wanted to stay here," he told the Herald.

"I love it. There will be a review after the season is finished - that's part of the contract stipulation - and talks will start next year about hopefully how long they would like me for."

Robertson is not pushing the All Blacks option just yet either, saying he still has plenty to learn.

"You have to be patient. Time is something that benefits you as a coach," he said.

His coaching philosophy is simple - building respect and keeping players.

"It's something I pride myself on ... people enjoying the environment and wanting to stay."

Despite how popular the man known as "Razor" is, he can make the tough calls.

There was no room for sentiment when he dropped senior All Blacks Israel Dagg and Wyatt Crockett at the business end of the season, because he felt the younger breed of players were performing better.

The nickname "Razor" stems from the cutting tackles he made during his playing days and the now famous breakdancing is done to a players' chant of "Hey Ho Razor Ray".

Robertson recalls that the only time he felt "true fear" was when a shark approached while he was surfing in South Africa.

"I turned around and went straight in, feet-up off the board and fingers just touching the water, went straight in and sat on the beach for five to six minutes," Robertson added.

Now, he jokes, his biggest fear is missing out on a party.

"I love a party and if I know a party is going on and I'm not there I'm pretty gutted."

 

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