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New Zealand Rugby Team Watch

Dismal Pillock

Simon Poidevin (60)

waiopehu oldboy

Stirling Mortlock (74)
Hurld rugby writer Phil Gifford, who has probably seen more AB rugby than anyone except possibly Nisbo, has had a crack at ranking every AB coach since the first to carry that title back in 1949. He’s excluded Foster & six or so who took what were essentially “B” teams to Australia in 1949 & we'll into the '50's.
  1. Sir Brian Lochore (1985-87)
  2. Sir Fred Allen (1966-68) 14 wins, 0 losses
  3. Sir Steve Hansen (2012-19)
  4. Sir Graham Henry (2004-11)
  5. Neil McPhail (1961-65) beat the 1965 ‘boks 3-1
  6. “Grizz” Wyllie (1988-91)
  7. John Hart (1996-99)
  8. Jack Gleeson (1977-79) beat Lions 3-1 in ’77
  9. Tom Morrison (1950, 52, 55 & 56) beat the 1956 ‘boks 3-1
  10. John Mitchell (2000-03)
  11. Peter Burke (1981-82) beat the ‘boks 2-1 in ‘81
  12. Laurie Mains (1992-95)
  13. Bryce Rope (1983-84) beat Lions 4-0 at home in ’83 & Australia 2-1 away in ’84
  14. Wayne Smith (2000)
  15. Bob Duff (1972-73) won 3, drew 1, lost 1 on 5-Test tour of UK, Ireland (draw) & France (loss)
  16. “JJ” Stewart (1973-76) SA tour lost 1-3 after NZR turned down neutral refs
  17. Arthur Marslin (1953-54)
  18. Jack Sullivan (1958-60) 1960 SA tour lost 1-3
  19. Eric Watson (1979-80)
  20. Ivan Vodanovich (1969-72) 1970 SA tour lost 1-3, 1971 Lions lost 1-2
  21. Alex McDonald (1949) SA tour lost 0-4
@Dan54 may be able to fill in some of the gaps in my memory/ knowledge of some of the other lesser-known names.

Biggest surprises for me are Lochore aheds of Allen, Hansen ahead of Henry & Mains well below Hart – as we used to say, Hart had a coupla good years with Laurie’s team before he ruined it.
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Tim Horan (67)
Yep interesting picks, I would of had Allen at top, very much a top coach for his tiime.
Gifford made a mistake on 1971 Lions, that series was lost to probably one of best innovative teams to tour NZ, not won, hey it's the Herald ;). I always remember Phil Gifford as author of Susan of Herne Bay!! But he got Vodanovich about where he should be if not 1 to high, as I thought he made some real cock ups against Lions, including bringing Lochore out of retirement to play 2nd row in test at Wellington.
And perhaps a bit harsh on Alex MacDonald, took a team to SA with no Maori players, and he was really just the assistant manager, All Blacks that were left behind also played a test series against Wallabies and lost, so not sure who coached that team.

waiopehu oldboy

Stirling Mortlock (74)
^ Lochore's tenure was overshadowed & very nearly undermined by the Cavaliers fiasco & I think Gifford ranks him top for being able to nevertheless win a WC.

Allen took over after home series wins v SA (1965) & Lions ('66) & while he was by all accounts a transformational coach (before my time so I'm relying on what others have said) he doesn't really have a standout achievement on his CV - had AB been able to go to Ireland in '67 he may well have brought home a Grand Slam but 'twas not to be.

Hansen over Henry has me a little confused as Henry inherited a bit of a shambles & ended with a WC (albeit not winning one mid-tenure), Hansen got given IMO the strongest AB team of the modern Era, won a WC with it then oversaw a steady decline (by AB standards) ending with "that" SF loss.

Anyhoo it's all good fun & I can picture Bogey & my other mates debating it over several beers at a certain chartered club on SH1...

Thoughts on where Foster would sit if included? I'd obviously have him below the Sirs & probably below Mains (who id have above Mitchell) so say 13-15?


Tim Horan (67)
Yep I would be thinking about same with Foster, I was thinking pehaps about 13-15, I a Wayne Smith fan, but he never really stuck around long enough to see what he could do. I was never a great fan of Mains , but equalled that out by he was actually the one who really decided a certain Jonah Lomu was worth trying at wing instead of 8, and I think if memeory is right also was behind Eric Rush moving from 7 to wing, so he had some good ideas even if he seemed a strange man if you read Anton Oliver's book etc.
I agree can see a few with a beer in front of them on a leaner and the discussion using up most of a midweek night at the Cossie!


Steve Williams (59)
Staff member
Bryce Rope (1983-84) beat Lions 4-0 at home in ’83 but lost 1-2 to Australia away in ’84
The ABs won 2-1 in Oz in 84 which was the series immediately prior to The Parrot's Grand Slam win. I was at the SCG for the third test when Robbie Deans and Mark Ella had a kicking slugfest which decided the winner; it was the fourth or fifth game I'd watched the ABs defeat us by one point.

The Parrot's touring side won 2-1 in New Zealand in 86.


Tim Horan (67)
^ can't blame cut & paste for that one, it's 100% my faulty memory.
To be honest WOB some of us are older and so were in a position (ie married with kids so looking for reasons to watch game more?) to maybe be into the game more in 84, you were still young enough to have other things on mind? ;) :D


Jim Lenehan (48)
Apparently NZ coach will be announced in 2 hours time. Is it a run race or does JJ have a chance against Razor?

Likey a one horse race. Public opinion is massively in favour of Robertson and one of his chosen ACs from the first go round (Jason Ryan) is now performing well as AC to Foster. The only real things he had going against him are relatively cloistered coaching experience within NZ + Crusaders, and a - how should we say - eccentric personality that might ruffle the stuffed shirts of NZR HQ. The former is somewhat moot as he'll be working with NZ players, so won't have the issues the likes of Deans + Rennie supposedly encountered in Australia, and I'm sure the NZR old boys club can soldier on if it means a uptick in performance + results + winning back public opinion.

Further, Razor goes HC, Thorn replaces him at the Crusaders and Heenan gets promoted at the Reds?

Oh no, no, no sunshine.

Blackadder returns to the Crusaders.

waiopehu oldboy

Stirling Mortlock (74)
Breaking news on NZHurld website:

"Robertson has been appointed for four years from 2024 through to the end of the 2027 Rugby World Cup and will succeed current All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster, who will lead the All Blacks through the conclusion of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

"Robertson’s appointment was confirmed at an NZR board meeting on Tuesday morning."

"It’s an honour to be named as the next All Blacks head coach,” Robertson said. “It’s a job that comes with a huge amount of responsibility, but I’m excited by the opportunity to make a contribution to the legacy of the black jersey. To represent your country, as a
coach or player, is the ultimate honour in sport and it’s humbling to be given that opportunity. I can’t wait.”

"Robertson added: “Having significant time to plan for 2024 and beyond is crucial to setting the All Blacks up for success during the next World Cup cycle. I have a job to do with the
Crusaders and that will be my main focus through to the completion of Super Rugby, but I will now have the opportunity to work with NZR to get some key appointments in my coaching and management team finalised, so we can hit the ground running next year.“



Jim Lenehan (48)
Quite apt too as he'll be coming it to sweep away the accrued malaise exactly 20 years (!!!) since Henry arrived for his clean up job. A lot of young guys will be coming in too, which seems to suit Robertson perfectly. Here's hoping he can be just as successful as Henry was...