Rugby World Cup 2019: Scott Robertson puts best foot forward for All Blacks job

Victorious Crusaders coach Scott Robertson is now preparing for his next great career challenge - a tilt at the All Blacks head coach role, which becomes vacant after this year's Rugby World Cup.

The former international flanker guided his Christchurch-based franchise to a third straight Super Rugby crown on Saturday - the only coach to achieve this milestone.

Robertson was also a player on the only other team to achieve a three-peat of titles - the 1998-2000 Crusaders - under the guidance of Wayne Smith and Robbie Deans.

Those credentials should - at the very least - be enough to get him an interview with NZ Rugby and the charismatic coaching mastermind is guardedly optimistic about his chances.

"That process is the first week of December and I've got to prepare to put myself forward," he said at Monday's victory parade through Christchurch.

"I've done what I can to and hopefully have a great interview, all going well. If they want someone, they know who they're getting with me...

Asked to assess his chances, Robertson was thoughtful.

"Ask me closer to the time," he said. "I'm a pretty positive and optimistic person, and if you have a crack, you'd like to think you've got a chance." 

Incumbent Steve Hansen will stand down from the All Blacks role after his second World Cup campaign in charge and two as assistant under Sir Graham Henry.

New Zealand have captured the Webb Ellis Trophy on the last two occasions and will seek their own three-peat in Japan.

At 45, Robertson could become the youngest-ever All Blacks coach, but he could be up against more experienced candidates like current assistant Ian Foster, and off-shore head coaches like Joe Schmidt (Ireland), Warren Gatland (Wales) and Jamie Joseph (Japan).

"With anyone - and 'Ray' is the prime example - he's always looking to get better and improve right across the board," observed Crusaders captain and All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock.

"I think that's probably the critical thing with whoever's going to be that guy - they need to keep getting better. If they're doing that, it's really easy to make the players do it as well.

"I think 'Ray' has shown that over the past few years - where he's come from as a player to now a coach - and that's only a good thing."

Robertson has another two years left on his contract with the Crusaders, but would likely seek a release if his All Blacks bid is successful.

More to come

Join us on July 21 for live updates of the All Blacks v Argentina Rugby Championship clash

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