New Zealand rushed Robertson appointment, says Hansen

By Sports Desk March 22, 2023

New Zealand would have been better off biding their time before announcing Ian Foster's replacement, according to former head coach Steve Hansen.

The All Blacks confirmed on Tuesday that Crusaders coach Scott Robertson will succeed Foster after this year's Rugby World Cup in France.

Robertson, who lost out to Foster on the position when Hansen stood down four years ago, has been handed a deal that will run through until after the next World Cup in 2027.

Foster revealed earlier this month he would not be reapplying for the job when his contract expires in November. 

The 57-year-old questioned New Zealand Rugby (NZR)'s decision to find his successor while their tournament preparations are in full swing.

NZR said "significant competition for elite coaching talent" forced them to act now, but Hansen believes that decision may backfire.

"I think they got burned last time so they were worried about that," he told The Platform podcast. "What they didn't take into account was everybody had their coaching sorted.

"In my opinion, they would have been better to wait, but in their opinion they wanted to push the button and they've done that.

"They're in charge of New Zealand Rugby, so it's them that die and fall on these decisions.

"Just like coaches there's got to be repercussions if it doesn't work. If it does work, well they've been super."

Robertson played 23 Tests for New Zealand and has been praised for his work since moving into coaching, having won six successive Super Rugby titles with Crusaders.

That made Robertson an obvious contender to take over as the All Blacks' next head coach, but Hansen questioned NZR's handling of the situation.

"It doesn't come as a surprise because he's been offered the job. [Foster] fought back and maintained it [last year]. He was obviously the prime candidate," Hansen said.

"I don't know who else applied and they're not telling us, so I think [NZR's] leading us in the dark whether there was more than one candidate or not."

New Zealand, who are third in the rankings, begin their Rugby World Cup campaign against hosts France before facing Namibia, Italy and Uruguay.

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