Rugby: Scott Robertson keeps it casual ahead of New Zealand Rugby board meeting that could decide Ian Foster’s fate

Crusaders Coach Scott Robertson takes an early morning bike ride. Photo / George Heard

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson casually took a bike ride this morning ahead of a New Zealand Rugby board meeting that could lead to him taking on the role as new All Blacks coach.

Robertson’s journey could mean it’s a case of ‘on ya bike’ for Ian Foster, whose future as All Blacks head coach could be determined later today.

Robertson took an early morning bike ride around Sumner in Christchurch today. The city hosts the All Blacks’ next test against Argentina on August 27.

the Herald understands New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson and GM Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum met with Foster yesterday after he and the All Blacks arrived home from their turbulent two test South African tour.

In April, following a review of last year’s northern tour that finished with successive defeats to Ireland and France, Foster requested to be judged on the All Blacks’ first five tests of this season.

That includes the underwhelming 2-1 home series defeat to Ireland, and the 1-1 Rugby Championship battles with the Springboks in Mbombela and Johannesburg.

Yesterday’s meeting was set to review those matches, and all aspects of high performance surrounding the All Blacks, and then provide a recommendation to the nine-person New Zealand Rugby board on whether they believe he should be retained or removed.

If Foster is removed, Robertson seems the likely candidate to replace him.

Earlier this month Robertson dropped a bombshell saying he is open to offers from rival test nations.

England already looms as one possibility as Robertson sets his sights on replicating his success in charge of the Crusaders on rugby’s biggest stages.

The Crusaders coach, the people’s favorite who has been snubbed for the All Black job, is desperate to coach at multiple World Cups.

He told podcast host Jim Hamilton, the former Scottish forward, that his knock back by New Zealand Rugby after the 2019 World Cup had taught him to “keep your options open”.

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“If New Zealand Rugby want me, great,” Robertson told The Big Jim Show.

“If there is another country – I wouldn’t go to a club now – I really want to go to Rugby World Cup. I genuinely want to go to a couple.

“It’s one job [All Blacks coach] and when someone doesn’t give it to you, you have to think differently, about what opportunities are out there.

“I’m 47, I’ll be 52 by the time of the next Rugby World Cup … I want to go to two or three and test myself, push myself. I am open [to offers]yeah.”

Robertson, the former All Blacks loosie, has won six titles in charge of the Crusaders since it took over in 2017.

He is contracted with the Crusaders for 2023 but is clearly thinking beyond Super Rugby.

“It would be great to win a World Cup with your own country, which I want to do. That is the foremost thing,” he said.

“But I would love to do it with another country. I’m not sure what order it is.

“I’m not sure how that plays out, those decisions are not mine.

“I would love to win two and have a different expectation, different culture.

“You have got to adapt to the country that you are coaching and get the best out of them. It’s when someone goes ‘how did he do that’? That’s pretty special.”

Robertson has already seen his assistant and “mate” Jason Ryan – who he describes as an incredible forwards coach – elevated to try and help dig the All Blacks out of a hole.

Speculation around Robertson’s intentions increased when he met with England coach Eddie Jones in Sydney during the recent test series against the Wallabies.

Jones finishes up with England after next year’ World Cup, and they have yet to nominate a candidate to replace him.

Robertson said: “We [Robertson and Jones] have a good relationship. My best mate lives over there and I went to the test with him and it was a great experience.

“I took the wife over, and it was good to get away to Sydney for the weekend.

“You have to keep your options open … I’ll be coming into my seventh year as the Crusaders coach next year. I have loved it, it has been incredible, but no one lasts in a job forever so I am open.”

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