NZ Rugby CEO Mark Robinson and All Blacks coach Ian Foster (Photos: Getty Images)
NZ Rugby CEO Mark Robinson and All Blacks coach Ian Foster (Photos: Getty Images)

OPINIONSportsAugust 15, 2022

From: Scotty Stevenson Re: All Blacks column

NZ Rugby CEO Mark Robinson and All Blacks coach Ian Foster (Photos: Getty Images)
NZ Rugby CEO Mark Robinson and All Blacks coach Ian Foster (Photos: Getty Images)

We asked Scotty Stevenson for his thoughts after yesterday’s bizarre All Blacks media call.

Dear Mad,

Thank you for your message enquiring as to whether I would be able to write a column for you in the wake of the latest media call from NZ Rugby CEO Mark Robinson regarding the future of All Blacks coach Ian Foster.

I would certainly be willing to write that column, but before I do so I would like to send you this column outlining what steps I’ll be taking to write the next column. I know, it seems strange to write a column now when I haven’t decided what the actual column will be but, you know, transparency and all that.

It’s fair to say that there has been a lot of interest in the next column and I fully understand that, given just how big a deal the All Blacks are. Let’s face it, writing a column about anything else in sport right now would not exactly get the clicks, as they like to say these days. I understand there is an enormous amount of speculation around what shape the next column will take, and how many of the auxiliary verbs will feature. I appreciate that, but I haven’t quite made my mind up. Needless to say, in good time I will, I shall, I should.

At this point my main priority is to put the kettle on and make sure the kids have gone to school. After that I’ll take stock and then procrastinate a bit, probably read a chapter of the latest Valérie Perrin novel (have you read Fresh Water For Flowers? Exquisite), then doom scroll a bit, embracing the banality of other peoples’ lives, before really knuckling down and getting stuff done. After I endure my daily dose of existential angst, that is.

You know how these things work. It’s been an incredibly challenging time trying to figure out what kind of column I’ll be writing so I need to make sure everything is in place to make the column the best column it can be. You can’t rush into these things. Some of my columns have absolutely sucked, so I don’t want to make the same mistake with the next column. That would be irresponsible in the extreme, especially given how passionate I am when it comes to columns.

What the next column has to understand is that I am going to give it everything I have to make sure it is a success. Structure is important as is the validity of argument and the appropriate setting of tone. I am fully aware that when I deliver that column to you, the editor, it must be double spaced and largely free of literals. I will be doing everything I can to make sure it reaches your exacting standards. Expectation is important in the high performance column world.

NZ Rugby CEO Mark Robinson, former chairman Brent Impey and head coach Ian Foster after beating the Wallabies in 2020. (Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Mark my words, in researching the next column I won’t just be focussing on any individual sentence or paragraph. I am going to be thinking holistically about the column as a whole because a good column is never just about one thing, it’s about the sum of all things. You can’t just remove a phrase and think that’s the answer. Sometimes you think removing two phrases is the way to go, but it’s not as simple as that!

I’ve certainly put a lot of support around the next column and writing this column is part of that process. It’s about getting the juices flowing really, keeping the audience on its toes, teasing them a bit, playing for time while I work tirelessly behind the scenes to figure out how the next column will really sing. There must be harmony.

I certainly won’t be giving away the ending of the next column because then what would be the point of writing it at all? Even if I had already written the next column I wouldn’t be sitting here telling you about it now would I? I must respect the process. I have at least three people to discuss the next column with before I even begin to reveal what the next column will be. I would also suggest an editorial meeting sometime this week. Does Wednesday or Thursday suit? Ultimately the direction of the next column will be a full editorial decision, not mine. So don’t go blaming me if it doesn’t work out the way you envisaged.

I’ll certainly be offering insight, but the conversations I am having with myself right now are private and I will not be making comment on them. In my next column I’ll make comment on other things instead.

Anyway, thanks again for the message and I look forward to writing that next column at some point when I have something to say because at the moment there is only so much that can be, or should be, said.

Keep going!