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VIDEO: The 'scary' prospect awaiting the Springboks

Tony Brown once turned down an offer from Scott Robertson to help him coach the All Blacks.


That was back in 2019.

Now, five years later, the two will go head-to-head in back-to-back Rugby Championship Tests at Ellis Park (Saturday, August 31) and Cape Town (Saturday, September 7).

It will be a rerun of the World Cup Final, when the Boks edged the Kiwis 12-11 at Stade de France in Paris back in October.

Asked about Robertson – more affectionately known as Razor – the new Bok assistant was frank: “He is very good.”

Brown said Robertson has proven he is one of the best coaches in the world – with a string of Super Rugby successes at the Crusaders.

(WATCH as Tony Brown explains the ‘scary prospect’ awaiting the Springboks in the Rugby Championship later this year…)

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“He is unique,” Brown said, at a media scrum, where he was unveiled as part of the new Bok coaching panel.


“His speciality is getting the best out of the players.

“I can see Scott Robertson having a massive impact on the All Blacks.

“It could be scary, but that is the challenge we will have when we take them on.”

The history and the rivalry between South Africa and New Zealand, 106 Tests, dates back more than a century.


Brown explained why he turned down Robertson’s offer at the time.

It came after Steve Hansen stepped down as All Black coach – having finished in third place at the 2019 World Cup.

Robertson wanted Brown as part of his ticket when he put his name forward.

Ultimately he missed the cut and it was only four years later – ahead of last year’s World Cup – that Razor was finally confirmed as All Black coach.

And Brown, who stayed loyal to Jamie Joseph and assisted him with Japan for the last four years, has since joined up with Rassie Erasmus’ back-to-back World Champion Boks.

“When I got asked to coach the All Blacks, five years ago now, for me, it just didn’t feel right,” he told @rugby365com.

“I had a really good relationship with Jamie Joseph and if he had got the All Black coaching job, then 100 percent I would have been in with him.

“It just didn’t feel right for me to coach with the other guys going for that job, so Jamie and I went back to Japan to coach Japan.

“Now he’s not coaching any more and as soon as Rassie rang me, I said yes.

“I’ve got so much respect for what Rassie’s done with South Africa, I’m just excited to be part of it.

“[I want to] watch him operate, learn him and all the other coaches.

“One day, maybe I might coach the All Blacks – I don’t know.

“I just want to be part of this coaching set-up and the Springboks over the next four years.”

Brown felt he could make a ‘massive’ difference to how the Springboks attack.

While he is a “great admirer” of the way the Springboks play, he said he wants to add a few little things around the side to make them dominant in that aspect of the game as well.

“Finding those little things we can add to the attacking game is my job,” he said.

“It is exciting for me to work with some amazing players.”

Brown, a product of Kaitangata in south Otago, is unfortunately not to have had a longer Test career.

At any other period in New Zealand history, Brown may have been feted among the great flyhalves of the game.

However, it was his misfortune to coincide his career with two consummate masters, Andrew Mehrtens and Carlos Spencer, and so for the most part he was in their respective shadows.

Yet he still had a worthy career with Otago, the Highlanders and for three seasons between 1999 and 2001, if mainly in a backup role, was a regular member of All Black squads.

After more than 200 first-class matches – which included stints with the Sharks (2206) and Stormers (2008) – Brown took up coaching with the Wild Knights in Japan (2011), before returning to New Zealand and Otago in 2012, also assisting the Highlanders to their only Super Rugby title in 2015, the Sunwolves and Japan, before returning to New Zealand in 2020.


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