WELLINGTON – Scott Robertson’s immediate future was assured on Monday with a two-year contract extension with the Crusaders, but he could still walk away from the Super Rugby champions later this year if he replaces Steve Hansen as All Blacks coach.
The 44-year-old Robertson has made no secret of the fact he would be keen on applying for the top job in New Zealand rugby after Hansen steps down following the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The former All Blacks’ loose forward, however, has given himself an insurance policy if he is unsuccessful in replacing Hansen with the Crusaders contract extension, which is until the end of the 2021 season.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to lead a group of incredible players, alongside a coaching staff and management group who are passionate about what we do and the organisation we represent,” said Robertson, who won four Super Rugby titles with the team as a player.
Nicknamed ‘Razor’, he is the only person to have won Super Rugby titles as a player and coach, after he led the Crusaders to their eighth title in 2017.
They repeated as champions last year, and after a coaching career that has included success with the New Zealand Under-20s side in 2015 and three provincial titles with Canterbury, he is a strong candidate to replace Hansen.
He is unlikely to be granted dispensation to be involved with both sides, with precedent set when Hansen, who was then an assistant to All Blacks head coach Graham Henry, hoping to take on the vacant Crusaders role in 2008 as well, but he was stopped by New Zealand Rugby.
The Crusaders have fashioned a 35-3 record under Robertson, and won their opening Super Rugby match this season, with a 24-22 victory over the Blues at Eden Park.
They host the Hurricanes in Christchurch on Saturday.Reuters