Scott Robertson reveals All Blacks clause in new Crusaders contract
Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has revealed his new contract with the franchise and New Zealand Rugby [NZR] features a clause that allows him to leave his job early if he misses out on the All Blacks head coach role in the future.
It was announced on Friday that Robertson has signed a three-year contract extension with the Crusaders in a deal that will see him stay with the reigning Super Rugby Aotearoa champions until 2024.
Speaking to media about his new deal, Robertson revealed that he has the option to leave the Christchurch-based franchise a year before his contract expires if he isn’t hired as All Blacks head coach by 2023.
“If I don’t get the job, there is an exit [clause] after ’23, but if I want to stay around I can and that’s the part of the loyalty and that was probably why it took a bit longer than we’d hoped for, just to make sure we get the wording right,” Robertson said.
“Whenever the next All Blacks role comes up, that’s still my goal, my clear goal, and I’ve got opportunities if I don’t get it, and if I do get it, great.”
Robertson’s honest summation of the details surrounding his contract comes two years after he unsuccessfully applied for the All Blacks head coach role in the wake of New Zealand’s failed 2019 World Cup campaign.
Instead, NZR opted to replace outgoing boss Sir Steve Hansen with his assistant and current head coach Ian Foster, whose two-year deal with the national union is set to expire this year.
It’s expected that, unless the All Blacks implode over the coming months, NZR will offer Foster a two-year contract extension that will keep him on board as head coach of the national side until the 2023 World Cup in France.
Who takes charge of the All Blacks beyond then may be dependant on how the side fares in that tournament in two years’ time, but Robertson has made it clear he intends to land the All Blacks job by the end of the next World Cup cycle.
After guiding the Crusaders to five straight Super Rugby and Super Rugby Aotearoa titles between 2017 and 2021, Robertson was seen by many as the right man for the All Blacks job due to his success in the lower levels of the game.
Prior to that, Robertson assisted Canterbury to five successive national championships between 2008 and 2012, before leading the province to three NPC titles as head coach between 2013 and 2016.
The former All Blacks loose forward has also found success on the international stage as he led the New Zealand U20 side to a World Championship victory in 2015.
Such an imposing track record caught the attention of clubs from around the globe that were eager to cash in on Robertson’s services, but, after eight months of negotiations, the 46-year-old’s short-term future lies with the Crusaders and NZR.
“I had a look at the world market and a couple of opportunities overseas just to make sure that what you are getting paid and what is out there is comparable and it was.”
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