‘I’m stoked’: Scott Robertson delighted to be named next All Blacks coach

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HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY IMAGES Scott Robertson has a jovial moment at his media conference after being announced as the next All Blacks head coach. Picture: STUFF SPORTS.

The Razor’s edge is finally coming to the All Blacks, with serial winner Scott Robertson unveiled as New Zealand’s next national coach to succeed Ian Foster after this year’s World Cup.

For the first time in the World Cup era, New Zealand Rugby has gone early in appointing its next man, deciding market forces and availability could not afford them the luxury of waiting until this year’s global tournament played out in France to make their decision.

So at NZ Rugby’s Wellington headquarters on Tuesday, the 48-year-old, six-time Super Rugby-winning coach was unveiled as the man to guide the All Blacks for the next cycle, stepping into the role shortly after incumbent Ian Foster wraps things up some time in October and appointed through until the 2027 World Cup.

“I’m really stoked’’ Robertson told media, saying the lead-up at times had felt ‘’like an election.’’

Robertson got the job ahead of current Japan head coach, and former Highlanders mentor, Jamie Joseph, who presented a formidable alternative in tandem with his highly rated assistant Tony Brown.

Together they guided the Highlanders to their first, and only, Super Rugby title in 2015 and they have overseen a series of breakthrough results from the Brave Blossoms on the international scene – including a quarterfinal appearance at the last World Cup.

But Robertson’s compelling domestic resume – he has won every Super Rugby title since taking the reins of the Crusaders in 2017 and ending a nine-year championship drought – and his loyalty to the New Zealand game have been rewarded.

It is also a case of third time lucky for the former All Blacks loose forward (23 tests, 1998-2002) who interviewed for the job in 2019 and saw it given to Steve Hansen’s assistant, Foster.

Robertson was also placed on standby last year when NZ Rugby were set to dump Foster after a calamitous start to the season that saw the New Zealanders back up on consecutive defeats to close out 2021 with three losses in their first four tests of ‘22, which grew to four in their first six.

But Foster survived to see out the World Cup cycle on the back of a stunning defeat of the Springboks at Ellis Park last August, and the support of his senior players.

“It’s an honour to be named as the next All Blacks head coach,” Robertson said. “It’s a job that comes with a huge amount of responsibility, but I’m excited by the opportunity to make a contribution to the legacy of the black jersey. To represent your country, as a coach or player, is the ultimate honour in sport and it’s humbling to be given that opportunity. I can’t wait.

Having significant time to plan for 2024 and beyond is crucial to setting the All Blacks up for success during the next World Cup cycle. I have a job to do with the Crusaders and that will be my main focus through to the completion of Super Rugby, but I will now have the opportunity to work with NZR to get some key appointments in my coaching and management team finalised, so we can hit the ground running next year.“

The Crusaders put out a statement saying they were “thrilled for Razor’’.

”We have of course been aware of this potential outcome for some time and have given a lot of thought to our plans following Razor’s departure. New Zealand Rugby’s decision brings clarity and gives us the opportunity to have genuine conversations about succession,” Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge said in a statement.

“As conditions allow, we will be able to tell you more about our plans a bit further downstream. At the moment our focus remains on making sure this group – both players and coaches – get everything they need to perform.’’

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