New Zealand: Scott Robertson makes stunning All Blacks coaching revelation

David Skippers

Crusaders boss Scott Robertson has made a stunning revelation, saying New Zealand Rugby (NZR) could make an announcement about the process to appoint the next All Blacks head coach “in the next few days”.

Robertson, who is widely tipped to succeed Ian Foster for the All Blacks position after this year’s World Cup, was speaking at a Crusaders press conference in Christchurch on Wednesday and when asked if he was happy with the plan, Robertson laughed before saying: “I haven’t signed anything yet.”

NZR disputes Robertson’s claim

However, the NZR issued a statement shortly after Robertson’s interview which said: “New Zealand Rugby is continuing to have internal discussions, but an announcement about the All Blacks’ head coach or process is not imminent.”

Regardless of when the NZR’s announcement of the next All Blacks coach is made, Robertson clearly knows what their plan is and that recommendation needs to be ratified later this month.

“I’ve been really patient. I think where we are now, that’s what we’re going to deal with, not what’s happened… the next two weeks is big,” he said.

It was reported in the New Zealand media recently that the NZR board will decide this month whether to appoint the All Blacks head coach beyond 2023 before, or after, the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France.

There is a growing belief in the country that the governing body will make that announcement before Foster takes the team to this year’s global showpiece which kicks off when the All Blacks face France at the Stade de France in Paris on Friday, September 8.

“Whatever their process is, they’ve just got to give me enough run-in time whenever they go. And I can do my job here at Rugby Park,” Robertson said.

“It’s part of it, at one stage there it could have only been 10 days and I was coaching a Test match. Whatever the lead in, whatever the time is, I’ll deal with that.”

That was a reference to the fact he was lined up to take over the All Blacks coaching reins after some poor results in 2022, only for Foster to save his job when his team bounced back and beat the Springboks in Johannesburg during the Rugby Championship last August.

That meant Robertson, who has won six Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders since joining them as head coach in 2017, was left to weigh up his options as there were several other countries interested in acquiring his services.

The 48-year-old is contracted until 2024, with an exit clause at the end of 2023, and along with fellow candidate Jamie Joseph he has been calling for the NZR to buck the trend and name the new All Blacks coach before the World Cup.

“Our job is results driven, it’s board driven and people have got to make decisions, and you live with them,” Robertson said of the past six odd months.

“I think my integrity is really important. Well, it is to me, and making sure I live by those standards all the time. I’ve got to trust their process and take a big breath when I need to, and it will all work out.”

England and Australia are amongst the other countries whom Robertson have been linked to in the past. He confirmed that but said his preference has always been to remain in New Zealand and coach the All Blacks.

Focused on the Crusaders

In the meantime, the former All Blacks back-row is preparing for what should be his last season in charge of the Crusaders, who start their pre-season campaign against the Highlanders in Weston on Friday.

“Enjoy today. It’s a big part of my life coming in here, I’ve been coming in for half of my life as a player and coach,” Robertson said of his mindset.

“I’ve got great relationships, and it means a lot to me. The biggest thing is I want to set this team up to be as successful as we can.”

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