That’s why it’s come as absolutely no surprise to Robertson that the Blues are starting to succeed under MacDonald’s watch.
The former teammates come head to head as coaches in Saturday’s much-anticipated top-of-the-table clash in Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa. Robertson could spot MacDonald’s coaching talents from a mile away.
“It didn’t surprise me at all. Leon is a great coach, that’s why I had him in my All Blacks coaching group. I knew he was world class and knew he would turn the team [Blues] around. They’ve done extremely well with a lot of the local guys in there and it shows work ethic and how much care they have in their group and organisation.”
Robertson said you can feel the buzz around Christchurch, as the city gears up for Saturday night’s fixture at Orangetheory Stadium.
He’s made the extremely tough decision to bench in-form Will Jordan against the Blues, with George Bridge returning to the left wing from a week off. Robertson’s confident Jordan will still do the job off the pine.
“He’s in red hot form, but when you have two All Blacks wingers and your vice-captain in David Havili, they are really experienced. We would start all four if we could and we spent a lot of time on the decision making. But the young fella is going to bring a lot off the bench.”
There’s more tough news for promising flanker Ethan Blackadder who is set to see a specialist about his knee. The 25 year-old had just returned to playing, following a long-injury layoff from shoulder surgery. Robertson really feels for him.
“There’s something floating in his knee and it locked up a couple of times, so the surgeon will have a look at it. When he plays, he’s exceptional and he’s worked so hard to get back to perform, but he’s a tough kid. That hurt, I’m sure it did for him, and he didn’t show too much of it, but we’re just hoping the best for the operation and he’s good at the recovery side of things and he’s young.”
The Crusaders host the Blues at 7:05pm on Saturday at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch. They have a special ticket offer for secondary school students and their parents and they are hoping for a sellout for what promises to be a humdinger. Get your tickets HERE.