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Rugby News: ‘I want to win RWC with two countries’ – Razor turns up heat on NZR, Tah joins Force, French star’s NRL gig

Scott Robertson has continued to put the heat on New Zealand Rugby over his future with another come and get me plea to rival Test nations.

Robertson has garnered big headlines in New Zealand today after a podcast appearance where he says he’s ready to coach a team at the World Cup, and revealing his chats with Eddie Jones, who will finish up at the helm of England next year.

The latest podcast appearance on Jim Hamilton’s The Big Jim Show comes exactly four weeks after Robertson told Fox Sports’ Christy Doran that he would consider coaching the Wallabies and any other Test nation if he continues to be rejected by New Zealand.

The Crusaders coach’s timing will be particularly galling to the man who beat him for the ABs job in 2019, with Ian Foster under enormous pressure following four defeats in five Tests.

Robertson told Jim Hamilton, a former Scotland Test player, that his rejection by New Zealand Rugby after the 2019 World Cup had taught him to “keep your options open”.

“If New Zealand Rugby want me, great,” he said. “If there is another country – I wouldn’t go to a club now – I really want to go to Rugby World Cup. I genuinely want to go to a couple.

“It’s one job (All Blacks coach) and when someone doesn’t give it to you, you have to think differently, about what opportunities are out there.

“I’m 47, I’ll be 52 by the time of the next Rugby World Cup … I want to go to two or three and test myself, push myself. I am open [to offers], yeah.”

Robertson said his main goal was to win the World Cup with New Zealand.

“I want to win the World Cup, but I want to win it with two different countries. I haven’t said it publicly before, but it would transcend,” he said.

“It would be great to win a World Cup with your own country, which I want to do. That is the foremost thing.

“But I would love to do it with another country. I’m not sure what order it is.

“I’m not sure how that plays out, those decisions are not mine.

“I would love to win two and have a different expectation, different culture.

“You have got to adapt to the country that you are coaching and get the best out of them. It’s when someone goes ‘how did he do that’? That is pretty special.”

Robertson met with Jones in Sydney during England’s Test series defeat of the Wallabies.

“We have a good relationship. My best mate lives over there and I went to the Test with him and it was a great experience.

“I took the wife over, and it was good to get away to Sydney for the weekend.

“You have to keep your options open … I’ll be coming into my seventh year as the Crusaders coach next year. I have loved it, it has been incredible, but no one lasts in a job forever so I am open.”

Tahs playmaker joins Force

The Western Force has locked in their scrum-half options for the upcoming 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season with Ian Prior re-signing and Henry Robertson joining the club from the Waratahs

Prior has signed a new two-year deal with the Force after making a historic 100th appearance for the club in the memorable Round 15 win against the Hurricanes at HBF Park during the 2022 regular-season finale.

The experienced playmaker, who also reached 100 Super Rugby caps in 2021, captained the Force for four seasons between 2018 to 2021 and has been an important figure on and off the pitch since joining in 2014.

As one of only three Force players to play 100 matches for the club, Prior’s leadership and skill will continue to prove crucial as he enters his tenth campaign in Western Australia.

Prior is determined to help the Force perform and maintain the strong family culture in 2023 and 2024.

“I’m extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to represent the blue jersey for another two seasons,” Prior said.

“I feel like I played some of my best rugby this year and still have the hunger to keep getting better.

“I’ll be looking to use my experience to make sure everyone knows what we’re representing, and what the jersey means to former players, the staff, our partners, and our supporters.”

“It’s an exciting new chapter for the club with the regeneration of the squad and coaching staff. I’m looking forward to building on the legacy that those before us have built to ensure we’re making them proud with our own contributions.” 

Robertson joins the Force on a one-year contract from the NSW Waratahs, where he made seven Super Rugby appearances, including two matches against the Force.

He found his progression hampered by the feats of Ben Donaldson and then Tane Edmed in the No.10 jersey.

The 22-year-old, who debuted in Round 2 last year against the ACT Brumbies, is currently enjoying an impressive Shute Shield campaign with Sydney University, with the side sitting in second place.

The former Junior Wallaby said he can’t wait to link up with some familiar faces in the Force squad ahead of the upcoming season.

“I’m happy to be given the opportunity to get into a new environment to meet and work with new people,” Robertson explained.

“I’ve worked with Tom Robertson, Ryan McCauley, and George Poolman before, who I’ve spoken with about the club. I’m really looking forward to joining a hard-working group.

“I want to be playing consistent rugby at the Super Rugby level. I’m aiming to take any opportunity to develop my game and play senior rugby as much as possible.”

Michalak helping Cronulla Sharks

Cronulla Sharks have enlisted the help of French rugby legend Frederic Michilak to boost the kicking games of their halves Matt Moylan and Nicho Hynes.

Coach Craig Fitzgibbon worked with the 77-Test star in 2019 at the Roosters, where the French ace helped Luke Keary.

“I had a quick Google and looked him up on YouTube to see his highlights when he first came in,” Moylan said.

“It’s good to have someone of his stature around the club.

“He’s been with us the last few weeks and it’s been enjoyable working with him.

“He’s mainly working on how we strike the ball and focused on helping us get a better routine (in our kicking action).

“Wade (Graham) speaks a bit of French at home and I’ve tried to pick up a bit … but I’m hopeless.”

Holland coverts ABs ‘reject’

Hurricanes coach Jason Holland says he’d love to lure ex-All Blacks centre Ngani Laumape back to Super Rugby, but doesn’t like his chances.

The 15-Test No.12, whose last outing was against Australia in 2020, is back in NZ after completing the final year of a three-year multi-million dollar move to Stade Francais.

“I would always be interested in Ngani,” Holland told Stuff. “If he was keen to play in New Zealand I would be really interested but I think at this stage, unless something massively changes from NZ Rugby, he will probably be heading offshore at the end of the NPC.

“Who knows? He’s the sort of No 12 that is pretty vital in rugby these days.”

Prior to his departure Laumape spoke about the offer he’d received from NZR.

“Yeah, pretty disappointing,” Laumape said in June 2021. “I think I offer something in the midfield that no other midfielder can offer in New Zealand. At the end of the day it’s a business, they did what they had to do and I have to do what’s best for me and my family and my kids. There’s no hard feelings, I understand it is what it is.”

The All Blacks have hardly been settled at No.12 with Jack Goodhue, David Havili, Rieko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea all being used and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck having just debuted.

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