I sympathise with the critics who have bagged Rugby New Zealand’s big brass for not choosing the All Blacks new selection and coaching panel long before this year’s World Cup in Japan.
To invite 26 coaches to apply for the job is ridiculous when most don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.
Meanwhile Australia were quick to replace Michael Cheika with the talented Dave Rennie who broke the Chiefs’ drought under Ian Foster and others by winning two Super Rugby titles before heading for Glasgow.
Rennie has the talent and leadership skills to unite Australia into the force that won them world crowns in 1991 and 1999.
Leading contenders Scott ‘Razor’ Robertson and Foster both wanted Tony Brown as their assistant. However Brown remained loyal to Jamie Joseph and was re-signed by Japan, presumably for rich reward after carrying Japan to the World Cup quarter-finals following historic wins against Ireland and Scotland.
With Warren Gatland leaving Wales to coach the Chiefs before taking the British Lions and Ireland to South Africa, the coaching riches are not so great, especially with Joe Schmidt keen to devote time to his family upon resigning as Ireland’s mentor.
It could be that Graham Henry and the other committee members chosen to interview the candidates might suggest to Robertson and Foster that they team together. If so, Robertson would be my choice as boss.
Foster offers continuity, knows his players and has the backing of key men like retired coach Steve Hansen and Beauden Barrett. He will also have learned a lot from Hansen whose international record is second to none.
The charismatic Robertson has won three Super Rugby crowns for the Crusaders in his three-year tenure as their coach.
Meanwhile convincing tennis stars they gain more by being paid less to appear in the 2020 ASB Auckland Women’s Classic rather than Australia must make promoter Karl Budge New Zealand’s greatest salesman.
This time he has exceeded his own incredibly high standards by attracting a galaxy of stars that include the immortal Serena Williams, defending champion Julia Görges , Caroline Wozniacki, Description
Bianca Andreescu, Amanda Anisimova, Coco Gauff, Jelena Ostapenko, Catherine Bellis and Daria Kasatkina.
Getting Serena’s signature was remarkable when one considers her complaints about the wind after her loss in her previous trip to Auckland.
However it is rising youngsters like Andreescu (19), Anisimova (18) and Gauff (15) who are likely to wow fans with their athleticism.
As a qualifier with an amazing forehand, Canadian Andreescu went on to beat Venus Williams and Wozniacki in this year’s tournament before losing to Görges in the final.
That gave her the confidence to win premier level titles in Indian Wells and Toronto before beating Serena Williams in the US Open final.
Having won her maiden WTA title, American Gauff is fast on her feet and possesses a sizzling forehand to complement her powerful serve. She was a sensation at Wimbledon where she beat Venus Williams and reached the fourth round.
Latvian Ostapenko, now 22, made headlines when, two days after her 20th birthday, she rallied to beat Simona Halep to win the Roland Garros women’s title after being a set and 3-0 down.
Bellis, 20, is a former world junior No 1 making her comeback from injury.
Russian Kasatkina, 22, won the Kremlin Cup in Moscow a year ago and plays an entertaining game that endears her to fans.
Ivan Agnew is an award-winning sports writer