Fitzpatrick was last week appointed as a non-executive director and global ambassador at the Scarlets and he hopes to sprinkle stardust on the board in Llanelli.
One of west Wales’ most famous rugby sons Phil Bennett was immediately in touch with Fitzpatrick to pass on his congratulations.
“It’s a nice fit with the culture and organisation,” Fitzpatrick said. “The people are so important. Good people make great teams. To have Phil call me and congratulate me was amazing.
“I was approached at the start of the lockdown and I wasn’t actively looking for a role. I got asked to do a few different things talking about rugby post Covid and it started the fire burning in terms of the opportunities out there.
“I’m really optimistic about the future of rugby. When I looked into the Scarlets, their board, and how well run they’ve been over the years, it seemed to fit.
“Then you’ve got the history of Wales – it’s probably the closest thing to New Zealand in terms of the love for this great game of ours. My father played in that great All Blacks and Wales game of 1953.
“I watched the great Welsh Lions of 1971 when they came to New Zealand – the likes of Barry John, Phil and Gareth Edwards were our heroes growing up.
“Watching Wales play the All Blacks with my dad meant the ultimate for me was to play at Cardiff Arms Park and I was lucky enough to do that in 1989 and also to play in Llanelli.
“I’ve got so many great Welsh friends – Jonathan Davies, Ieuan Evans, Scott Quinnell, Gareth and Phil.”
I watched the great Welsh Lions of 1971 when they came to New Zealand – the likes of Barry John, Phil and Gareth Edwards were our heroes growing up
Fitzpatrick won 92 Test caps for the All Blacks and led the side on 51 occasions. He hopes to bring all his rugby experiences to Llanelli to have a big impact.
“What I want is for the Scarlets to be the best club team in the world,” he said.
“I’ve got a bit of experience on the playing and management side. I’ve managed Super Rugby teams and New Zealand Under-21’s. The culture of an organisation and the aspiration of the players is something I can get involved in.”
Fitzpatrick continued: “What I’ve loved from coming down to Llanelli in the last couple of weeks is everyone is under the one roof. The players train at the same venue as the match day stadium and the staff are there too.
“It’s a one team culture which I really like.
“We need to be an aspirational club where the fans demand they win. As an All Blacks fan I expect them to win.
What I want is for the Scarlets to be the best club team in the world
“Rugby went professional 25 years ago and we haven’t had the time to press the reset button and look at what was done. Covid has accelerated a process that was going to happen at some stage anyway and I thought I’d like to have some influence in terms of what is going to happen in the next 20 years of rugby.
“It’s such a crucial time with so many changes being forced on us through Covid and with private equity money coming in.
“It’s a really exciting time to be part of rugby and with Scarlets we have to be ready for when these changes come about.”