Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has confirmed he explored the international market while considering his next career move, before he ultimately re-signed with New Zealand Rugby.
NZR today confirmed Robertson had agreed to continue at the helm of the Crusaders until the end of 2024, keeping one of the country's top coaches on home shores.
Robertson said he had hoped to remain in New Zealand and, after eight months of negotiations, was happy with what he had been offered.
"You go back to what's important to you and, also, I had a look at the world market and a couple of opportunities overseas just to make sure what you are getting paid and what is out there are sort of comparable, and it was," Robertson said.
"It's a good contract. It's all fair."
While he has signed until the end of 2024, Robertson revealed there are clauses in his contract that gave him flexibility in the future.
Robertson was in talks to be part of the coaching staff for the British and Irish Lions' tour, but ultimately didn't get that opportunity due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He noted his new contract has the opportunity to work with international teams, but said he was "challenged on" working with tier one nations.
He also confirmed there was an early exit clause in his deal, where he would be able to depart after the 2023 season.
Robertson has been clear in his intentions to coach the All Blacks and while he missed out to Ian Foster for the job after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, many believe he will get the job in the future.
His next opportunity to do so could come sooner rather than later, with Foster's initial two-year deal to coach the All Blacks expiring this year.
"If I don't get the job, there is an exit after 2023 but if I want to stay around I can," Robertson said of his new contract. "That was all part of the loyalty, and that was probably why it took a bit longer than we'd hoped for, just to make sure we get the wording right.
"Whenever the next All Blacks role comes up, that's still my goal. I have the opportunities if I don't get it, and obviously if I do get it, great."
Robertson has been a force on the New Zealand scene since taking over Canterbury in the National Provincial Championship in 2013. Since that time, he has coached the New Zealand Under-20s (2015), and took over as the Crusaders head coach in 2017.
In five years at the helm of the Super Rugby team, Robertson has led them to five titles, while his personality – along with his results – have made him a favourite with fans.
While many coaches head offshore to get more experience coaching at a high level, Robertson's coaching education has been entirely New Zealand-based.
When asked about it, Robertson's response was simple.
"Staying in New Zealand, you get the skills that are required to go to the next step."