Meet the panel! The chosen 5 who will select the next AB's coach:
The Chairman Brent Impey.
According to those who should know, (including AB legend & IRANZ founder Murray Mexted and former NZR CEO David Moffett), the 2 key players in the room are this guy and the new CEO Mark Robinson.
It's essential say both men that the triumvirate of Coach-CEO-Chairman not just all get on but have a, honest, stable and loyal working relationship. Any breakdown in this chain of command usually means trouble for one or other. Impey is a died in the wool old school rugby fan.
He loves the game, been involved in the governance of or supporting rugby in all sorts of roles for decades now. In terms of his technical expertise and ability to argue toe-to-toe over selections, tactics, that's not his role. He's a sharp guy and very pragmatic decision maker who will be keen to form a strong Triple-C alliance. So expect BI to probably vote whatever way his CEO does.
The CEO Mark Robinson.
Now this guy doesn't officially take over the role 'til Jan 1st, or so I've been told, that the reason why he's been so noticeably silent over anything about our failed RWC campaign. Regardless of, because of his position, he's an essential and very influential member of this panel and rightly so. Groomed (bad word these days I know) for the top dog's role for the last decade or so, the man brings qualifications and credentials that'd impress those employing the next Reserve Bank Governor. How decisive he is, how inspirational his leadership remains to be seen.
Those previously occupying his chair have been defined by the cautious, conservative nature of their decision making with a distinct lack of adventure almost always evident.
I can't see MR being particularly brave at this point of his tenure, longevity in the job is a major reason why you take the position isn't it? I expect his choice to be heavily influenced by the next bloke.
Sir Graham Henry.
In terms of experience and knowledge there couldn't be a better brain employed for this occasion than Sir GH. Since retirement he's kept a keen presence on the periphery, happy to offer his expert advice and analysis around all issues important to rugby.
Obviously he has an intimate insight with exactly what's involved in coaching such a high profile team that carries with it a nation's weight of expectation - plus he's personally dealt with the ultimate adversity, bouncing back from our worst ever RWC result to achieve that crowning glory just 4 years later.
There has to be someone on the panel that doesn't just think they know what the coalface is, they've actually been there too. Ted is that person and his influence over the other 4 will be undeniable. I firmly believe that what he wants will eventually be the same conclusion the rest will also readily agree to.
Mike Anthony NZR HP Manager.
If I had to ditch one of the panellists, this guy is it.
These sorts of pseudo intellectuals with kpi-ticking qualifications could easily leave without ever being missed. Ask yourself. Could the All Blacks ever win again if NZR didn't employ a HPM? Fancy title for a job I'm sure is so terribly important to every aspect of our national game. Unfortunately for Mike our own HP failed us in Japan, the AB's failing embarrassingly easy against an England side that taught us a lesson in physicality and tactics. Not Mr Anthony's fault of course but if the All Blacks aren't at the apex of everything to do with High Performance in NZR, then who truly knows what his role actually is?
Phil Gifford, in a recent NZH article, told a bizarre story about the guy implying he really knows his stuff because 20 years ago he ranted and raged at Ron Cribb being late for a Crusaders fitness session. I'm sure there was a point to the story in there somewhere, which clearly I missed, but seriously hoping he brings more to this privileged position than just his own (obvious) physical fitness and inflated job title. This guy should be replaced by someone like Richie McCaw and we all know that.
Needs no introduction, a highly qualified former NZ netball player and coach who's achieved international success as both, Wai brings a wise head, a completely different perspective and her own hard earned been there/done that on court experience.
There will be those (of course) who'll sneer behing their hands about tokenism and this appointment being NZR simply trying to prove they really are the new inclusive progressive organisation they purport to be. Forget all such BS and treat it with what it deserves. Hopefully Wai doesn't let herself be bothered by the inanity of social media trolls, I mean why would she? Class, perspective and experience go a long way on any interviewing panel and Wai adds only excellence to everything she touches.
So. The 5-Person panel then. Three alpha males, one solid female influence and a job title that could and should be axed. If it was me doing a presentation I'd be trying to lassoo Ted, sweet talk the CEO, impress upon Wai and this convince Impey that I AM THE GUY international player and coach job for more reasons than just his own impressive physical fitness.