COMMENT

Seeking a rugby coach, call New Zealand first. This is the global way.

No other country's coaches are in greater demand. And given the success of Kiwis abroad, this will only further increase.

There is little New Zealand Rugby can do, either.

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Highly-regarded Crusaders assistant Brad Mooar is the latest to pack his nous; off to lead Welsh club Scarlets next year where he will replace Auckland's Wayne Pivac who steps into Warren Gatland's national remit.

Note the trend.

Forget the poaching of players for a minute. The Welsh, with Graham Henry and Steve Hansen before this latest crop, cottoned on to these easy gains long ago.

NZ Rugby must grimace each time experience intellectual property walks into the hands of others, knowing they have only five Super Rugby posts and no right to patent knowledge.

Like Mooar, what was Jono Gibbes to do when French club La Rochelle came calling? Stay for pittance in comparison with Waikato, whom he led to the Mitre 10 Cup Championship title?

Coaches are no different to players in this regard. Rugby is big business. They, too, are naturally ambitious.

La Rochelle, for the record, have won five straight games under Gibbes.

New Zealand coaches, by no means clones, work within an inclusive environment where ideas and statistics are willingly shared.

Philosophies, trends and tactics are, therefore, similar and what we are essentially witnessing is this Kiwi way of thinking leech out and greatly benefit other nations.

This is not an arrogant view proclaiming others do not produce astute rugby minds. Of course they do.

But, surely, it is difficult to deny evidence that New Zealand coaches do it best. They know how to cultivate winning structures.

Look around. From Pivac in Wales to the influence of Davie Rennie and Jason O'Halloran in Scotland, Joe Schmidt transforming Ireland and Milton Haig's continued efforts with Georgia.

Joe Schmidt will 'finish coaching' after Ireland's World Cup campaign next year. Photo / Getty
Joe Schmidt will 'finish coaching' after Ireland's World Cup campaign next year. Photo / Getty

Robbie Deans and Wayne Smith's respective teams are on track to contest the Japanese Top League final while Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown plot the national team's road to their home World Cup.

Deans was also the most successful Wallabies coach of recent times.

Pat Lam delivered treasured success to Connacht before moving to Bristol; Vern Cotter captured one French title and was duded a World Cup semifinal with Scotland.

On it goes.

Prior to Mooar's appointment, Scarlets general manager Jon Daniels had this to say about why he specifically targeted another New Zealander: "Maybe Kiwis have a natural empathy and understanding for the Welsh way of life and also the way we play rugby.

"We in Wales admire and respect the winning mentality Kiwi coaches tend to bring as well. That's why those partnerships have worked well in the past.

"This is a performance sport so we need to open the net as wide as possible to get the right person. That's the most important thing for us."

There is no secret blueprint as such. Mooar is a solicitor; school teachers are common so, too, policemen and former players.

Emerging from rugby country; inherently knowing the game, the breadth of skills needed. Knowing how to inspire, how to blend people from all walks of life certainly helps.

Rugby is not rocket science but the growing concern is this lost intellectual property will soon come back to bite New Zealand.

After successive World Cup titles, the gap is fast closing. Much of this is, undoubtedly, due to New Zealand's coaching exports.

When Chris Boyd departed the Hurricanes for Northampton last year he bemoaned the lack of opportunities beyond Super Rugby.

He followed that up with a warning that now appears more relevant than ever.

"The Northern Hemisphere is only going to continue and get stronger and I think that is an issue for down here," Boyd said.

Indeed. Success starts with quality coaching.

New Zealand's pathways, predominately through the provincial sector, remain strong and while the likes of Aaron Mauger, John Plumtree and, soon, Schmidt eventually return home after learning and growing abroad, as Mooar explains there are no guarantees others will do likewise.

"At some stage you're going to return home but whether that's after your career has finished or during it, I don't know," Mooar said.

Timing is everything in terms of landing prime roles but salaries simply don't compare.

In the meantime, Kiwi coaching talent continues to raise standards everywhere.

This scenario also poses a juxtaposition around the All Blacks with recent, unrivalled success effectively driving local coaches away.

Continuity has worked superbly to this point but should Hansen step aside after next year's World Cup an open, contestable process is crucial for contenders to believe a genuine pathway to the All Blacks exists.

Otherwise, the Scott Robertsons and Leon MacDonalds of the New Zealand scene could be next to take their talents elsewhere.

This is the delicate juggling act that comes with coaching riches and not nearly enough jobs to retain them.