Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has revealed his potential involvement in next year’s British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa may come in a smaller role than many might have anticipated.
Plenty has been made about the prospect of Robertson, who recently guided the Crusaders to a fourth consecutive title as Super Rugby level, joining Chiefs boss Warren Gatland on his third tour in charge of the composite side.
Speaking on the Country Sport Breakfast on Gold AM last week, Robertson said he asked Gatland about joining him on the tour and offered his services.
“Once I missed the All Blacks job I actually reached out to Gats and asked him if I could go on that tour,” he said. “I thought, look if I can’t be involved with the All Blacks, what’s the biggest thing – or actually bigger in its own self the Lions tour – to get involved.
“I said ‘look, I would love to help you if I can’.”
His interest in a possible coaching role has since been swatted away by former Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan, who wrote in The Daily Telegraph that Robertson’s keenness was “flattering”, but a place on the coaching staff should be saved for someone who knows the Lions players “intimately”.
However, Robertson told Stuff that he doesn’t want to join the Lions’ coaching staff at the expense of someone else, but rather in a support role.
The 46-year-old raised the prospect of potentially assisting defence coach Andy Farrell, or helping out with a specific positional group such as the loose forwards.
“I am happy to help Andy Farrell out with the defence, to have more of a specialised role to allow him to get the best out of the group,” he told Stuff.
“You need a hand. You’ve got test matches, and midweek games. Coaching staffs are big, they’ve got a lot of players [on Lions tours].’’
However, Robertson revealed he hadn’t yet received any indication from Gatland about whether he would join the former Wales coach on tour, and confirmed he wouldn’t speak on the matter again until a decision had been made.
“Again, it was a chance for me to grow as a person and teach with people with different mindsets and skill sets and be in such a special group. Nothing has changed from that,” he told Stuff.
“I’m just waiting to see. If I can help, that will be great.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now