Scott Robertson clarifies his stance on massive All Blacks change


Scott Robertson made headlines last month when he urged New Zealand Rugby (NZR) to keep an open mind over the eligibility rules surrounding overseas-based players playing for the All Blacks.

Several key All Blacks left New Zealand following the Rugby World Cup to pursue playing opportunities including World Player of the Year Ardie Savea, captain Sam Cane, Beauden Barrett, and Richie Mo’unga.

Cane has spoken out previously and urged New Zealand Rugby to reconsider not picking overseas-based players for the All Blacks – but was told they would not be changing their policy anytime soon.

But Robertson, who has recently taken over as the new All Blacks coach, said he was hopeful NZR would change their mind.

“I presented to the board, the CEOs of Super Rugby, the PUs (provincial unions).. I explained about keeping an open mind in that space, that’s what I’ve asked for,” Robertson said last month.

“Keep an open mind where the game is at the moment, it’s moving quite quickly, as we know.

“There is a lot of on and off field, players and decisions and contracting, and I want to be a step ahead of that. Decipher that.”

He has now clarified his comments, making it clear that he is not looking to relax the rules completely, but rather looking at making an exception on a case-by-case basis if players meet certain criteria.

“I mentioned earlier on about keeping an open mind about the eligibility criteria. Everyone thinks you’re going to open the floodgates, well it’s not, it’s looking at people that are eligible and they meet the criteria,” Robertson told the Breakdown.

“We’ve got to evolve. Guys that have been to two or three World Cups, they’re starting to look to go overseas. What does it look like? How long could they go for? I was just going to be open to those questions.

“It goes quite quickly. I deal with agents all the time. I’m dealing with players and one of my main jobs is making sure I understand what they need.

“If I’m going to say it publicly, I’ve got to talk to the players about it too and understand where the game is going.

“The key part of it is the eligibility and the criteria; it’s a case-by-case basis, it’s not the floodgates.”

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