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30 Minutes with… Crusaders coach Scott Robertson

Merry dance: Scott Robertson enjoys Canterbury's Mitre 10 Cup triumph in 2016. Photo: Getty Images Rugby World

Former All Blacks back-row Scott Robertson talks pranks, players and party guests


Tell us about your breakdancing after winning competitions…

It comes from my playing days. I think the first time was up in Wellington; the boys called me out, chanting ‘Hey Ho Razor Ray’. It’s something I’d done behind closed doors and those doors quickly opened with peer pressure. Now it’s become a bit of a tradition, although I’d say I’m better at 4am than after a game.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve heard on the pitch?

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I was having a tussle on the ground with Taine Randell in a Canterbury v Otago game. Anton Oliver told me to leave it out and Norm Maxwell stepped in to say: “Anton, you just worry about your lineout throwing because the rest of the country is.”

That was after a Test series when he had overthrown a lot. It was brutal to say it, in the middle of the 2001 NPC final. We won the match!

Who are the jokers in the Crusaders squad?

Israel Dagg is one – he’s a great character and brings a lot of energy to the group. Jordan Taufua does all our chants and songs. He helps the vibe with music. He’s also in the team band.

Joking around: Crusaders team-mates Kieran Read and Israel Dagg. Photo: Getty Images Rugby World

What about pranks?

Guys go round to each other’s houses and film themselves pretending to mow the lawn or having dinner. Every week a video will play in front of the whole team and everyone is hoping it’s not their driveway and their wife greeting guys at the door. Players’ partners are all in on it.

If you could be one of your players, who would it be?

That’s one of the best questions I’ve ever had. It’s tough… Kieran Read – he’s played more Tests than I did, has captained the All Blacks whereas I was vice-captain and has played more Crusaders games. He’s a hell of a bloke and a hell of a leader.

How did you get your ‘Razor’ nickname?

In my first year at the Crusaders, 1996, we were playing the Brumbies and I cut Pat Howard in half. I said: “You see that boys? It was like he ran into a blade, a razor blade. That’s my right shoulder!” So it was a bit of self-promotion.

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Do you have any bugbears?

Not knowing. To do my job as head coach and solve any issues people have, I need to know about them, otherwise I can’t help.

What about phobias?

Missing out. I love a party and if I know a party is going on and I’m not there I’m pretty gutted. So I don’t miss too many parties – the easiest way not to get FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

To teleport. Then I could go to all the best surf spots in the world and enjoy the beach lifestyle.

Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?

Laird Hamilton – he’s a big wave surfer, a pioneer in the surf industry. Who else? The Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver – he could cook. And Jennifer Lawrence – she’s a good sort.

Party guest: Actress Jennifer Lawrence would provide interesting dinner conversation. Photo: Getty Images Rugby World

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

I played rugby in Newtownards in County Down and I worked as a hodman, carrying cement in a wheelbarrow. I was the worst worker they’d ever had. I had a great time in Ireland, though. It was the first time in my life I’d been overweight – all that Guinness.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m a good swimmer. I was New Zealand’s junior surf life-saving champion and enjoy water sports.

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

To create a good family environment for my three boys and to give them every opportunity to be successful. They’re 13, 11 and nine – it’s a lively household!

This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Rugby World.

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