Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson is likely to ink a new deal with the franchise and New Zealand Rugby after claiming a fourth straight Super Rugby title with the Christchurch club.

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That is according to a report from the New Zealand Herald, which claims Robertson “is expected to announce his decision soon”.

The 45-year-old – who led the Crusaders to the inaugural Super Rugby Aotearoa crown with a 32-22 victory over the Highlanders at Orangetheory Stadium on Sunday – is off contract at the end of next season.

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The Herald states that Robertson is looking to extend his deal with the Crusaders through to the end of the 2023 season.

That will coincide with the 2023 World Cup in France, after which the make-up of the All Blacks‘ coaching staff could undergo significant transformation.

Robertson last year missed out to Ian Foster in the race to become Steve Hansen’s successor as head coach of the All Blacks, with Foster signing a two-year deal with NZR to take the helm of the national side.

Provided the All Blacks don’t implode in whatever international matches they play in over the next year-and-a-half, it is difficult to see Foster not being retained through until France 2023.

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It is too early to call whether he will remain there beyond that tournament, but should Robertson continue his extraordinary run of success with the Crusaders through until the end of 2023, he would have to be at extremely short odds to succeed Foster.

Since entering the professional coaching ranks as an assistant for Canterbury in 2008, Robertson has enjoyed a remarkable run of success throughout his career.

Working under the tutelage of current Waratahs boss Rob Penney and Chiefs assistant coach Tabai Matson, Robertson was part of the coaching staff that oversaw five straight provincial championships between 2008 and 2012.

He was then promoted to Canterbury head coach in 2013, winning a sixth straight crown in his first season in charge before winning a further two championships over the next three years.

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During that period, he also spent two seasons with the New Zealand U20 side as head coach, guiding them to the 2015 World U20 Championship in Italy in his debut campaign.

Robertson’s break into Super Rugby came in 2017 when he was appointed head coach of the Crusaders in place of the departing Todd Blackadder.

The rest, they say, is history, as the ex-All Blacks loose forward has won a Super Rugby title in each of the four years he’s been in charge of the Crusaders, adding to the four he won with the franchise as a player between 1996 and 2003.

With eight provincial titles, a World U20 Championship and now four Super Rugby crowns under his belt, it’s easy to understand why many wanted Robertson to be named as All Blacks boss ahead of Foster at the end of last year.

As many as 46 percent of players quizzed in an anonymous poll by Country Sport Breakfast producer Sam Casey earlier this year also believed NZR got that decision wrong.

Being denied the top job in New Zealand must have got the tongues of potential offshore suitors wagging, as was the case when French club Biarritz tried to lure Robertson to Europe during his spell at Canterbury.

However, the Herald reports that the “relative safety and security” of working and living in Christchurch amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which possesses the potential to radically alter the global rugby landscape, could play a key role in Robertson’s decision to stay.

If that is how things pan out, as reported, and he extends his exceptional winning streak with the Crusaders for another two years, Robertson will surely stand as the frontrunner to replace Foster in the national set-up.

For now, though, Crusaders fans can rejoice as the imminent announcement of Robertson’s re-signing with the club looms.

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