Cotter: NZRU asked about assistant's job
December 18, 2011
Clermont Auvergne boss Vern Cotter was frustrated at missing out on the top job in his native New Zealand © Getty Images
Vern Cotter has revealed that he was sounded out about taking on the role of an assistant within the new All Blacks coaching set-up.
The Clermont Auvergne boss put himself forward to replace Graham Henry as New Zealand head coach but was pipped to the post by Henry's former right-hand man, Steve Hansen.
However, Cotter has revealed that during his interview he was asked by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) if he would be interested in becoming part of the backroom staff should he not be offered the top job.
"That question was posed," he told the Sunday-Star Times. "It was vey hard to treat because I was unsure of how it might work.
"I [explained] my thinking, which was the person who was selected as head coach should put a team around him who he trusted and had confidence in. I had done that [assistant]. The role I applied for was head coach.
"They've gone with continuity and you have to respect that. If I get an opportunity to coach New Zealand, or another country it would seem, I'm prepared and ready to do a good job of it."
However, while Cotter insists that he holds no ill will towards the NZRU, he did admit his frustration at being overlooked not only because he had not previously been a part of the All Blacks coaching set-up but also because of his lack of Test-level experience in general.
"All my current players are internationals," he said. "Although I hadn't had international experience, I had international players. The game is the same. The field is the same size.
"The French players I coached lost to the All Blacks by only one point [in the Rugby World Cup final] so I thought I had something to offer. That was the case I put forward."
Cotter also felt that the All Blacks could have done with a new coach with fresh ideas and a new approach to the game, claiming: "The time was right for a change in New Zealand rugby, to get some experience from elsewhere."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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