Scott Robertson, fast becoming hailed as a master coach, summed up the secret to his success as a “wacky” approach after his Crusaders downed the Jaguares 19-3 to claim a 10th Super Rugby title on Saturday.
A third consecutive trophy in the cabinet, job done, and now time for the laid-back surfer to set the theme for next year which in Robertson-speak is “plant stuff in their heads” so targets set now will be achieved at the end of next season.
Saturday’s victory over the rapidly improving Jaguares extended the Crusaders remarkable record to 10 titles in the 24-year history of the competition and stretched their unbeaten run on home soil to 31 matches.
Robertson has become the only coach to win three consecutive Super Rugby titles, a feat achieved by only one other team and that was the 1998-2000 Crusaders when the 17-Test flanker Robertson was a key member of the run on side.
But the 44-year-old claims there is no real secret to his coaching success other than a love of the unorthodox — which includes breakdancing on the pitch after each title win.
“Sometimes I get a little bit wacky, sometimes things are a little bit different but (the players) have stayed with me and we enjoy the ride,” he said.
Captain Sam Whitelock described Robertson as being full of “left-field ideas. We thrash them about. Some of them we don’t take on board but some of them we do and it is exciting.
– Surf-loving maverick –
“You get to training and you don’t know what you’re going to get.”
Robertson’s great sporting love outside rugby rests with the ocean where he spends much of his spare time with his surf and paddle boards while planning his next move.
Jaguares coach Gonzalo Quesada described the Crusaders as “the best rugby team on earth” and Robertson speaks of his players and their families with admiration and affection, and treats the opposition each week as something special regardless of form.
AFP / CHRISTIAAN KOTZE Canterbury Crusaders coach Scott Robertson breakdances in front of his team in Johannesburg in 2017 after they won the first his three consecutive Super Rugby crowns against the Golden Lions
“If someone says: ‘It’s just another game,’ there’s no ‘just another game’. Every game is special and you’ve got to make it special otherwise you just get another game and it means your mindset’s not right. So each week’s special,” Robertson says.
Saturday’s final preparations could have been overshadowed by the emotion of the departures of long-serving players Kieran Read, Ryan Crotty, Owen Franks, Matt Todd and Jordan Taufua, while Whitelock will take a sabbatical next year.
But rather than have the farewells blur preparations in the week leading up to the Jaguares showdown, Whitelock said Robertson addressed it at the start of the season.
“We touched on it throughout the year. It happened pretty much from the first game and that allowed us to address those things.
“It didn’t mean we got to here and everyone was on different levels of emotion of playing their last game, or sad. It was one of the major little bits of gold for us this year.”
Flyhalf Richie Mo’unga revealed that assistant coach Brad Mooar also contributed to the unorthodox after he fluffed eight of his first 12 shots at goal at the start of the season.
The drill required Mo’unga to hop along on his left-leg after striking the ball, designed to help with a clean follow-through.
“To be honest, I wasn’t much of a fan, I looked like a bit of a dick, hopping after, but it’s good. It’s paying off,” said the All Blacks pivot who landed 24 of his last 25 kicks during the campaign including all 17 shots at goal in the three knockout matches.
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