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Robertson 'optimistic' about ABs chances

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Crusaders coach Scott Robertson 'optimistic' ahead of All Blacks interview

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The 44-year-old steered the Crusaders to their third successive Super Rugby crown on Saturday thanks to their 19-3 grand final win over the Jaguares at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch.

In doing so, he became the first person in Super Rugby history to win a hat-trick of titles as both a player and a coach, as he also claimed three consecutive titles during his time as a loose forward with the franchise between 1998 and 2000.

With current All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen stepping down from the position of which he has held since 2012 – and thus ending a 16-year association with New Zealand Rugby – at the end of the year, speculation has been rife as to who will replace the two-time World Cup-winning coach.

Robertson has established himself as a favourite to take over the role through his success with the Crusaders, which comes off the back of title-winning campaigns in previous roles with both Canterbury and the New Zealand U20 side.

Others, such as All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie, have also been shortlisted as potential candidates, but Robertson remains quietly confident of becoming Hansen’s successor when he is interviewed for the position in December.

“I’ve got to prepare as best I can to put myself forward,” he told media during the Crusaders’ victory parade in Christchurch today.

“I’ve done what I can do so then hopefully I’ll have a great interview and if they want someone, they know who they’re getting with me.

“We’ll wait for December.”

When pressed further about how he feels about his chances, Robertson, a 22-test All Black himself, was coy with his answer.

“Ask me closer to the time,” he said.

“I’m a pretty optimistic person – if you have a crack I’d like to think you have a chance.”

Since coming into coaching at first-class level as Canterbury assistant coach in 2008, Robertson has won a plethora of accolades.

He won five straight domestic titles while working under head coaches Rob Penney and Tabai Matson, before adding a sixth consecutive crown as a head coach in 2013.

Robertson was appointed head coach of the New Zealand U20 side in 2015, and guided them to a title at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Italy that year.

He then won back-to-back titles with Canterbury in 2015 and 2016, and was subsequently named Crusaders head coach for the 2017 campaign after Todd Blackadder’s departure to Bath.

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Crusaders coach Scott Robertson 'optimistic' ahead of All Blacks interview