Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge says Scott Robertson will still be the franchise’s head of coach next year even if he takes a role with the British & Irish Lions.
Robertson was appointed Crusaders head coach in 2017 and has led his team to championships in every season since taking control. But last week, the 45-year-old revealed he has reached out to Warren Gatland to express interest in forming part of the British & Irish Lions coaching group next year.
Robertson, who missed out on the All Blacks coaching job, told a New Zealand radio show that he has turned his attention to the possibility of taking up a role with the Lions.
But while nothing is concrete yet, Mansbridge says the Crusaders board has discussed the possibility of Robertson linking up with the Lions and discussed ways to work around it.
‘Without getting into detail about what it actually looked like, there was confidence that we would be able to manage it in terms of commitment to the Crusaders’ campaign, as well as doing this [Lions link],’ Mansbridge said.
‘He is not going to lose focus on the campaign. There is no way he doesn’t want to win another championship. If there is anything that keeps him up at night, it’s that.’
According to Mansbridge, Robertson would be able to focus solely on the Crusaders’ season before joining the Lions set-up, because it is expected that Vodacom Super Rugby will conclude about a month before the Lions tour of South Africa in July.
‘He is not going to abandon the campaign at the back end – it would be how does he manage himself? And he’s exceptional at doing that. We are confident that between us we can solve any issue as it arises,’ Mansbridge said.
‘We would like to see it as an opportunity, rather than see the problems or barriers to it, is our mindset.
‘His coach’s paint around this place is going to be thicker than most. It’s as good as, if not better, than a Robbie Deans or Wayne Smith. It’s that sort of impact he’s going to have on this place. I’m not saying Razor holds all the cards, but there is no need to play hardball or be tough or anything like that.
‘When you show someone that you want them in your whanau and you love them and you love them being there, we just keep reinforcing those, and we will let the documentation and the contracting take care of itself with time.’
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