Rugby Global Tens
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 11: Mitchell Hunt of the Crusaders passes the ball during the Rugby Global Tens match between the Crusaders and Samoa at Suncorp Stadium on February 11, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

After a fantastic last 12 months, Crusaders Super Rugby coach Scott Robertson was active in promoting the DUCO Events Brisbane Global Rugby 10s. His men reached the final in the debut tournament, and in his words, his ambition is “let’s go one better”.

The ‘super coach’ had gone from claiming a 2016 Mitre 10 Cup Premiership, to beginning his term as the Crusaders coach, with his first official assignment being last years event. His memory of that was of the ground temperature. “It was about 50 degrees wasn’t it!”

Played on Suncorp Stadium, the February timing for this years event will require teams to focus on their fitness and hydration. One of 14 teams that will contest the event, he recalls that it was a chance for some young players to gain valuable experience. And over the two days, the side didn’t miss a beat, right up to the 12-5 loss against eventual winners, the Chiefs.

Scott Robertson on Brisbane Global Rugby 10s “Let’s Go One Better”

The 10 man game is closer to the 15 player game, then sevens is. “It’s the perfect balance for us. You’ve got a lot of loose forwards, and some pretty mobile locks running about. The props only come on for the scrums, but there’s still some defensive patterns you can run.

“It’s not as expansive as sevens, but it’s quite aggressive. So it gives you that physical contact two weeks out from the start of Super Rugby. It’s a balance of holding the ball or kick. We were finding if you kicked it, then you don’t see the ball for a while.

“And tens minutes goes pretty quick.”

Robertson enjoyed last years event, and along with Nick Cummins, is a part of promoting the 2018 tournament. And it is that Brisbane Global Rugby 10s knowledge which Robertson and his assistants Joe Maddock and Leon MacDonald will utilize. Preparation and planning, which will go hand-in-hand with their pre-season. Those learnings from 2017 were to “prepare the boys well enough so you don’t get dehydrated. Don’t hide away from it [the heat], it’s gonna be hot and use your subs well.”

And the players available, which will determine the sides approach.

Young Players Benefit Most During Global Rugby Tens Event

Last years rookie player George Bridge (see main picture) was a revelation, after starring for the Crusaders all season. The outside back, along with new All Black David Havili, were beneficiaries of the open expanses of Suncorp Stadium. Also players like Pete Samu and Michael Alaalatoa got time on the park. Once the loose forwards had done the hard work, new halfback Bryn Hall then spread the ball out to the strong backline.

Key players in 2017: beside Bridge, Robertson pointed out Seta Taminivalu.

Seta Tamanivalu of the Crusaders scores a try during the Rugby Global Tens match between the Queensland Reds and Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium on February 11, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

“Seta was extremely explosive, and just showed how that exposure and the confidence these young players can gain.”

Another experienced player who would be key to the Crusaders going ‘one step further’ in 2018, will be Tim Bateman. As crucial to the Super Rugby campaign as Ryan Crotty, Bateman has the experience and game management that the coach would be happy to start him here. While Crotty will likely be rested due to the All Blacks duty, Bateman is “one man that the team can rely on.”

Throw in a few loose forwards, add in new names like Braydon Ennor and some signings that Robertson could not name [due to Super contracts], but he is aware that he needs that right mix. “We came over here with not much expectation, but the further we went in the competition we thought ‘here we go’.

“honestly, it came down to one call from the ref, could have gone the other way for us in the final.”

Crusaders Go into 2018 with High Expectations

“We’ll have that same expectation, probably a little bit more because it’s something we haven’t won”. And that big smile came over the face of the former player. His teams list of achievements in long. Eight Super Rugby titles, and pre-season is now a bigger stage of the year than it was in his years of playing in red and black.

And when speaking of those colours, the conversation turned to Mitre 10 Cup provincial rugby. The major semifinals were only just about to be played, with Canterbury lining up against North Harbour. And Robertson was glowing of Harbours progress in 2017.

“I’m really stoked for North Harbour, they’ve had some lean years and got the opportunity to do something special. They’ve got some great leaders, with Bryn Hall,” who gained massively from his term with the Crusaders. When asked about his beloved Canterbury, he acknowledged their strengths–having Luke Whitelock back–but also a man they will be without.

Passionate Supporter of Provincial Rugby Pride

“Luke’s huge, and it sort of counters the loss of Richie Mo’unga [called into the All Blacks tour party]. And now, it’s probably down to who is better on the night. North Harbour going down there, (he admits) they have a genuine chance.”

 *interview recorded prior to CANvHAR result.

For Scott Robertson, besides having intending on having fun and enjoying the vibe of the Brisbane Global Rugby 10s, there are goals. To ‘go one better’ is obvious. But to gain value from the weekend is primary. To not incur any injuries is another, but to give his young group experience is vital.

Do that, and that big grin will be across his face.

And if the call came for Robertson to pull on the boots, “if I have to!! No, I’m joking on that. I can’t even run”. But you can be sure that if his team needed him to limp around and demonstrate his commitment, Scott ‘Razor’ Robertson would endure the pain.

Such a passionate individual; like Nick Cummins is, Robertson about promoting the game and values of the Brisbane Global Rugby 10s.

 

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

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