Rugby: NZ Rugby confirms Scott Robertson as All Blacks coach after 2023 World Cup

NZ Rugby has confirmed Scott Robertson will coach the All Blacks after the 2023 World Cup, after he signed a four-year deal through to the end of 2027.

The Crusaders coach will succeed Ian Foster, who chose not re-apply for the role after his contract expires at the end of this year.

Robertson's appointment comes as little shock, with the six-time Super Rugby winner considered the frontrunner for the position.

He has won the title every year since taking charge of the Crusaders in 2017, with previous success as Canterbury and NZ U20 coach.

"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."  

NZ Rugby's announcement comes earlier than anticipated, which ends the growing uncertainty and speculation over the role.

Japan coach Jamie Joseph was considered Robertson's greatest rival for the position, with All Blacks assistant Joe Schmidt revealing he would not apply, but with rival nations circling, NZ Rugby has moved to lock in their preferred candidate before overseas offers.

"I'd like to congratulate Scott on his appointment," said NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson.

"His coaching record speaks for itself in terms of success, but what came through strongly during the interview process was his innovative approach to the game, his passion for his players and his desire to add to the All Blacks legacy. 

"We firmly believe he is the right person to lead the team in 2024 and beyond." 

Scotland was rumored to be interested in Robertson, with current coach Gregor Townsend departing after the World Cup. Blues coach Leon MacDonald has also been tipped for the Scottish role, but may now fill an assistant role at the All Blacks.

Robertson won't have to look far for a familiar face, with longtime Crusaders assistant Jason Ryan already part of the All Blacks backroom staff, as forwards coach.

His focus remains on the Crusaders and winning a record seventh Super Rugby title, but he is looking forward to getting started in his new role as All Blacks coach.

"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," said Robertson.

"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."

Ian Foster.
Ian Foster. Photo credit: Getty Images

Robertson's representative coaching career began as an assistant at Canterbury, under Rob Penney and later Tabai Matson, after his retirement from playing in 2007.

He made 86 appearances for the Crusaders in Super Rugby from 1996-2003, also earning 22 test caps for the All Blacks, after making his debut in 1998.

Robertson left for France in 2004 to play for Perpignan, where he spent three seasons, before ending his playing career in Japan with Ricoh Black Rams.

Following Matson's departure as coach of Canterbury in 2013, Robertson took over, winning the national provincial title in his debut year.

He then led the NZ U20 to the 2015 World Cup title, before taking over the Crusaders in 2017, winning six Super Rugby titles since.