31 Mar 2021

Scott Robertson says Silver Lake deal could affect whether he stays with NZ Rugby

12:03 pm on 31 March 2021

Crusaders coach and former All Blacks Scott Robertson says the outcome of New Zealand Rugby's proposed $465 million deal with US Investment company Silver Lake could determine whether or not he stays in the country.

Scott Robertson.
Chiefs v Crusaders. 1 August 2020.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson. Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2020 www.photosport.nz

NZR and the Players' Association are in mediation, after a letter signed by senior All Blacks and Black Ferns, was sent to New Zealand Rugby expressing concern over the sale of a 15 percent stake in NZR's commercial rights.

Robertson, who has led the Crusaders to four straight Super Rugby titles including winning last year's inaugural Super Rugby Aotearoa and is off contract at the end of the year, said the "Silver Lake deal is an important part of re-signing" with NZR.

"The next couple of days is pretty big around the Silver Lake deal. We are getting close, but the Silver Lake deal is a pretty important part of re-signing," Robertson said.

"Like I've said before, with the agent, he's a pretty patient type, it's a long game for him just around what's happening with New Zealand Rugby, just making sure the timing is right."

NZR boss Mark Robinson says he's optimistic the deal will get the backing from all key stakeholders ahead of next month's annual general meeting.

Robertson still wants to coach the All Blacks after being overlooked in favour of Ian Foster at the end of 2019.

Foster's two-year contract ends at the end of 2021, but it seems unlikely his deal won't be extended to the end of the 2023 World Cup.

Robertson wants some clarity from NZR around that process.

"I've asked a few questions around the All Blacks job and what it will look like, what timing? We've talked to the coaching group that I took [to the interview process] last time, and we're still well aligned. But things can change, so we're just making sure we get a lot more of those answers back from those questions.

"What does it mean the next step after that? How does that line up around the 2023 World Cup if this coaching group (Ian Foster and co) stays on. There's a lot of things going on with it."

Robertson says re-signing with NZR would likely mean a few more years with the Crusaders.

"It's pretty clear if I sign a couple more years I've done the Crusaders for seven years, which I love doing, but what does it mean the next step after that? How does that line up around the 2023 World Cup if this coaching group stays on? There's a lot of things going on, there's a lot of answers.

"I've been coming down to Rugby Park since 2008 in some role as a coach, it's great, a great lifestyle and stuff, but I'm also am ambitious career coach, so for me to have an opportunity, whether it's here or elsewhere, you look at those opportunities."

Meanwhile, Robertson said it was nice to be linked to the England head coaches role as pressure mounts on incumbent Eddie Jones.

UK media have suggested Robertson, along with British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland and 2019 World Cup winning Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus, are in the mix to replace Jones after England finished fifth in the Six Nations.

"It's pretty flattering to be mentioned [for] international jobs - especially a role like that. It comes with a bit of honour and prestige to lead someone's country, so to be held in that regard is pretty special."