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With the Pivac era now a distant memory, Warren Gatland has a rich seam of talent to select from in the Six Nations

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Scott Robertson razor focussed on Crusaders amidst England speculation

By Ned Lester
(Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge admits the team have had plans in place for life after Scott Robertson for some time now, but until that day comes, Razor remains entirely dedicated to his Super Rugby club.

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With the recent sackings of Wayne Pivac and Eddie Jones, rumours again started swirling that Scott “Razor” Robertson could be appointed head coach of a tier-one national side. One of those doors was shut with relative haste while the other is creaking its way to a close with Robertson again on the outside looking in.

International rugby’s (potential) loss is undoubtedly Canterbury’s gain and as Mansbridge told Martin Devlin on The Platform, Robertson’s focus has never waned too far from his Crusaders family.

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“The guy, Razor, he’s got this razor-like focus on the program at the moment,” Mansbridge said. “The preseason, he’s fully immersed, he’s talking lovingly about the coaches and the players and you wouldn’t think there’s anything else on his mind other than Crusaders 2023.

“Now, obviously, outside of the environment it doesn’t look and feel quite like that but I can assure you, inside the place, he’s just absolutely focussed on 2023. We’ve been through a couple of changes before obviously, Jason (Ryan), and Andrew Goodman went to Leinster so we’re reasonably well-practised at dealing with these things.

“We’ve been through how do we deal with these things before, because we did it obviously last year, it’s pretty public knowledge that we had to deal with those things as did other Super clubs so we’ve been through the process before, we’ve thought about it.

“But, now… those plans sit in the bottom draw and we just dust them off if something happens. In the meantime, we just assume 2023 is all-go.”

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Mansbridge admitted he has tried to convince not just Robertson but also Razor’s wife to stick with the club beyond his current contract.

The CEO also expressed acceptance, albeit reluctant about Razor’s inevitable departure.

“We’ve accepted it, but if nothing else happened, and he turned around and said “could I stay?” – and I’ve been talking to his wife Jane a few times trying to convince them for that to be the case – we would absolutely, you know, I’d try talk the guy into staying but I think the reality is, his contract expires the end of ’24 and he can leave after the World Cup in ’23.

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“The nature of Super Rugby is, it’s actually a development competition in some respects – it’s more than that, it’s a great competition in its own right but out of that competition, players get selected for the All Blacks and coaches go on to bigger and better things so at your core you’ve got to believe that you’re a development organisation first. That’s how we feel about the players so whatever happens to him (Roberston) so if he wants to do it, he’d go with our blessing.”

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The Crusaders head into Super Rugby Pacific 2023 with a more future-focused sense of stability after the competition was extended to 2030.

Mansbridge spoke on some of the rewards that the confirmed longevity of the competition provides for clubs.

“It makes a lot of difference. I think all the clubs have had really tough year in ’22, obviously with a slightly abridged competition and no crowds for a period, I think the other thing that’s happened is that the uncertainty actually made it difficult with some of our longer-term partners because they’re starting to think, they planned a lot longer than one year out so for us, the certainty of the competition and I think the commitment to make the thing work is probably more exciting.

“We’ve got Moana Pacifika in there, we’ve got Fijian Drua in there… now we’ve got a commitment on that format of competition for essentially a decade almost you can go ‘right, we can make this thing hum’ and that’s what I’m really excited about and I think actually sponsors and partners are telling us the same story so very stoked about that.”

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