Scott Robertson's re-commitment to the Crusaders for two more years after this one has probably made another thing a little clearer: Ian Foster must now be the hot favourite to take over as the new All Blacks coach.

Robertson always hinted that it would be too early in his coaching career to put his hat in the ring to be Steve Hansen's replacement after this year's World Cup but such has been his record during his two seasons at the Crusaders – two titles with only three defeats in total (and an escape act against the Blues at Eden Park at the weekend), he would have presented a compelling case to take the national team in a new direction.

There is still a possibility that Robertson, 44, will apply for the All Blacks job even despite re-signing with the Crusaders until the end of 2021 because it's a New Zealand Rugby contract and the All Black job would take precedence.

But that would leave the current defending champions looking for a new coach at the end of the year - just before the 2020 pre-season starts - which would put them in a very compromising position and the man known as Razor clearly loves his team and they love him right back.


What his re-commitment has done is ring-fence Robertson from an overseas club or nation for a further two years but in reality there probably wasn't a great danger of him moving offshore because he still has unfinished business in Christchurch.

Scott Robertson and Ian Foster are the top local hopes for the All Blacks job. Photos / Photosport
Scott Robertson and Ian Foster are the top local hopes for the All Blacks job. Photos / Photosport

Should the Crusaders win another Super Rugby title this year he will be well on his way to building a legacy there which will compare to Robbie Deans'. Under Deans the Crusaders won three in a row from 1998-2000, something which hasn't been done since.

But while he will almost definitely coach the All Blacks at some stage in his career, should Hansen's men fail to win their third World Cup in succession then there will be those asking for a completely new voice.

It probably won't be Robertson and it won't be Joe Schmidt, the Kiwi who has taken Ireland to the No2 team in the world. It might be Vern Cotter or Jamie Joseph but it will more likely be something approaching the status quo in Foster, the current All Blacks assistant, a man who has served his time at the top and whose loyalty to New Zealand rugby is unquestionable.

Foster, an assistant since 2012, is a good man and a good coach and only time will tell whether he could cut it in such a high-pressure and high-profile role. He had his challenges in charge of the Chiefs in the mid-to-late-00s but has developed enormously since and will be the beneficiary of a quality support act.

He hasn't coached overseas and while that might count against him, it shouldn't. The overseas experience line has always felt like a justifying act. It's about appointing the right person at the right time and at this stage it appears to be Foster.