Controversial former New Zealand Rugby CEO David Moffett believes the All Blacks players should have no say when it comes to appointing the next coach – a decision he says is "a bigger appointment than the Prime Minister".
Moffett, most recently in the news for calling that Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters "traitors" in a tweet late last year, told Martin Devlin on Newstalk ZB that no players should be opining on the coach debate.
"One group who should have no say in the selection is the players," Moffett told Devlin.
"They are the employees, any player that believes they should be speaking out on the selection of the coach I think is a little bit out of line."
Moffett, who was the NZR boss from 1996-2000, says that new CEO Mark Robinson needs to be emboldened to take the lead and make the final decision, despite being part of a five-person panel.
"The guy under the most pressure in that room is Mark Robinson. If he just goes along with everybody else and gets it wrong, that will be on his CV forever. He needs to stand up and make his mark – he gets one chance to do this. Getting the right coach to coach the All Blacks is likely the biggest decision he's ever going to make."
Robinson and NZR chairman Brent Impey are the duo with the most riding on getting the right man for the job, argues Moffett.
"They will be the only two people in that room who are going to carry the can down the road. If they get this wrong, nobody is going to say to [Graham] Henry 'you were part of this panel and you got it wrong', because it doesn't matter to him [in terms of long-term job prospects]. If the wheels fall off the All Blacks because they got the coach wrong, it will rest with two people – the chairman and the chief executive.
"If I was going to be really controversial, I would say 'why have they got other people in the room?'
"This is a bigger appointment than the Prime Minister. There's an enormous amount of pressure on Robinson."
Moffett's recent ventures have been in politics, briefly sitting on the board of the New Conservative party, and now serving as the executive chairman of the New NZ Party.
However, having once been CEO of the Welsh Rugby Union and Australia's National Rugby League, the 70-year-old pointed to his time with Wales as a reason why a CEO shouldn't let influences such as the media, fans or players have a say in deciding the next coach.
"When I was in Wales and [Steve] Hansen left, we were looking for a new coach. I quietly went about choosing a guy named Mike Ruddock. Mike Ruddock took Wales to their first Grand Slam in 27 years. I got that right because I didn't listen to anybody else – it came down to how he presented and his vision for how Wales was going to play rugby post-Hansen. If you're going to make your mark, Mark Robinson needs to stand up on this one.
"If he doesn't, and he gets it wrong, it will come back to bite him on the ass."