A version of this story was first published in the 2016 Blues v Highlanders match programme.
Like many Welshmen relishing the glory days of the 70’s, Alistair Rogers was born into a rugby-mad family.
The former flanker was born in Port Talbot, Wales and spent most of his youth in Aberavon playing for the local rugby club. He earned his stripes with Neath Rugby Club, ironically known as the Welsh All Blacks, but nothing could surpass the original All Blacks’ reputation in the Rogers household.
“My dad always said, if you want to play rugby go to New Zealand,” said Alistair. “He loved the All Blacks because they were the best at what they did.” Alistair adopted these same values for his own career – hard work, good strategy and excellence – and in 1998 followed his father’s advice to Wellington, New Zealand.
“I knew within a couple of days of being in New Zealand that it would be my home for the rest of my life,” he said. It was here that Alistair met his future wife, Katie, and played for Wellington’s Western Suburbs.
The initial introduction to NZ was short-lived and Alistair returned to Wales after his contract finished to play for Ebbw Vale and London Welsh, interspersed with a coaching season for Ballina, Ireland.
By 2006, Alistair and Katie were back in New Zealand and soon Alistair was getting back into the rugby world. “My ultimate goal was to go back into coaching and I thought the video analysis path would be a good way to increase my knowledge and understanding of the game,” he said.
He had all the credentials needed for a smooth transition from working in IT for The Department of Internal Affairs to a video analysis role at Wellington Rugby. That transitioned into a role with the Hurricanes and before long Alistair was on standby for the All Blacks during the 2007 RWC.
“That’s probably where the learning started. I’m a studious person, so I had books and books,” he said. “Through my All Blacks role I was able work with people who looked at the game in a completely different way.” By 2011, Alistair was fulltime with the All Blacks, as their performance analyst.
After the 2011 World Cup, Alistair became assistant defence coach for the Hurricanes in 2014 and took up a spot coaching role with the Honda team in Japan, as well as continuing as performance analyst for the All Blacks.
He’s now enjoyed a full Super Rugby season with the Blues in 2016 and is looking forward to what 2017 can bring for the club. “Because of our history, because of the types of players at our disposal, the opportunity to build on this legacy is extremely exciting,” he said.