Champion Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has had many on-field triumphs, but an off-field battle proved just as important in his rugby coaching rise.

Robertson, who has guided both Canterbury and the Crusaders to titles in his coaching career to date, had to combat dyslexia to get to the top level of coaching.

In an interview with Tony Veitch on Newstalk ZB, Robertson opened up on the issue, and highlighted the importance of getting a university degree for his personal and professional development.

"I struggle to write an essay - I never was school smart, but I've got good EQ with people and I've got a good rugby brain.


"I tried hard at school, I had the work ethic right, I just hadn't found the way that was best for me. I was no good on any of that stuff, but I could tackle."

As Robertson blossomed into a promising rugby player, an overseas opportunity in Ireland with Ards RFC gave Robertson the awakening as to how he could take the next step.

"I went to Ireland and started to spend a lot of time with these guys who ended up going into the commercial world and law world, and I went 'far out, they've got so many opportunities by getting a degree.' When I came back, I wrote a letter to my mum and dad on the way home and said to them 'I want to be the first Robertson to get my degree, and I want to be an All Black'."

Throughout Robertson's playing career - which saw him achieve one of his goals with 23 All Black caps - he chipped away at his degree, and learned valuable skills which he could take into his coaching career.

"The learning that I got in Ireland was that I had to get my homework right; I've got to find out what I'm good at and put structures behind it to get the balance right. The degree helped me to get to that place - I'm really proud of it."

Robertson also credited his wife Jane with helping him to craft his speeches.
"She helped with my dyslexia. She'd look at my work and go 'Holy hell, what have you written here, it's all back to front'. She said 'just talk' and she writes it, and that's what I do here now.

"If I'm in front of the boys, it's all bullet points or one word, but I rehearse what I'm going to talk off it.

"In the end, I decided to do it my way, and I found a way."