I’ve been lucky enough to spend the week with Scott Robertson in the Barbarians camp this week and it’s convinced me that he should be the next England coach. He would be the perfect successor to Eddie Jones after the World Cup.
I’d heard plenty about his achievements with the Crusaders in New Zealand and he exceeded my expectations. What really struck me is how good he is with people. I’ve played for plenty of coaches over the years but I’ve not come across any who bring people together like Scott did this week.
A few of us met up for a coffee on the first day and posted a picture of a few flat whites on the team WhatsApp group. Scott replied saying ‘Where’s the beers?’ and encouraged us all to have a pint together. You feel comfortable with him straight away. You feel like you can have a normal conversation with him and I think England would really benefit from that human touch.
Scott Robertson would be the perfect successor to Eddie Jones as the next England coach
He connects with people so well and so quickly. Little things like putting one of the quieter lads in charge of the music so they feel like they’ve got a purpose and belonging in the group. Plenty of coaches can do the tactical and technical bits but not many of them are exceptional motivators too. Scott makes it enjoyable and I think that’s exactly what the England team need.
There’s so much talent in English rugby and I think they need a coach who will put them at ease, and allow them to flourish and develop. My experience of playing for England is there’s always a little bit of fear and Scott would change that. He encourages you to be yourself and be brave on the field. Someone like Marcus Smith would be in his element.
In a team coached by Robertson, I don’t think Smith would have kicked out the ball for the draw like he did yesterday. It seemed to sum up England’s mindset. It was as if they were happy with that outcome.
Players like Marcus Smith would thrive playing under Robertson’s style
That is not Marcus Smith playing for Quins that people know and love. How many times have Quins made a comeback? If he had a Quins shirt on he would not have accepted the draw and that shows something deeper in the environment. Why is it different with England?
They had a long way to go to score but why not go for it for at least a couple of phases. For me a draw is the same as a loss, you haven’t won and I can’t see New Zealand not going for it in the same situation. All the momentum was against them, New Zealand were down to 14 players and were scrambling so why not go for it?
We’ve become accustomed to England players coming away from England camps feeling mentally exhausted and I think that would change under Robertson. We need to get away from that. It shouldn’t be draining.
Steve Borthwick has done a brilliantly at Leicester but Scott is more suited for the England job
It should be fun as well as challenging. We had an Adele singalong in one of our meetings this week! It connected us as a group.
Having worked with both of them, I would pick Scott over Steve Borthwick. Steve’s done a brilliant job at Leicester and he’s top notch in terms of his detail, but they’re very different guys. I just feel like Scott would in and shake things up.
I was sat with him doing a Q&A before our match against Harlequins at the Stoop on Thursday night and he had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Connecting with the players, the board and the public is all part of the England job. You need to be a figurehead. I think Eddie’s lost a bit of that along the way. He’s not the typical mould of English rugby. He would come in and be a bit of a positive disruptor.
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