Crusaders coach Scott Robertson signs contract extension through 2024

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has re-signed through to the end of 2024, ensuring he stays in New Zealand and remains the heir apparent to All Blacks coach Ian Foster.

Robertson put pen to paper on a new three-year deal with New Zealand Rugby [NZR] this week, his signature a relief for a Crusaders organisation desperate to continue the team's amazing run under the former All Blacks back-rower.

The Crusaders won three straight Super Rugby titles under Roberston, while he has since guided them to back-to-back Super Rugby Aotearoa championships.

His perfect record was however spoiled when the Crusaders finished outside the top two in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, by virtue of for-and-against, missing the chance for further silverware as the Blues defeated the Highlanders in the tournament decider.

But that is only a minor glitch on his Crusaders record, one he officially now has the chance to right from next year.

"I love this team, and I'm proud of what we've been able to achieve on and off the field over the past five seasons, for the people of the Crusaders region," Robertson said.

"The opportunity to continue to lead a world-class coaching group, in a club where everyone is really connected - from the Board, through to staff and the team on the field - is truly special. The Crusaders have helped me grow so much as a coach and a person, and I value the relationship I have with our playing group, they challenge me every day. The best is yet to come from this team, so I'm excited to confirm my coaching future in New Zealand.

"I also want to thank my family for their support. I wouldn't be able to do what I do without them, and I'm fortunate that they share my passion for this club and our Crusaders family."

Robertson's management had been sorting through the detail of his new contract for some time and while there were suggestions other international Unions were circling, it was always his intention to stay in New Zealand.

He was also linked with an assistant role under Warren Gatland at the British & Irish Lions at one point, but the COVID pandemic, which has now wreaked havoc on the tour in South Africa, put paid to that idea.

Instead, he will continue to pilot the Crusaders juggernaut and be ready when the time comes to assume the reins of the All Blacks.

Foster is contracted through to the end of this year, his future set to be determined by New Zealand's performances through the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship.

"We are fortunate to have the quality of coaches we do in New Zealand and Scott is someone who has added, and will continue to add, an enormous amount to the players and teams he's involved with," NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said.

"His record has been exceptional at every level he has coached, including with the New Zealand Under 20s, and we are thrilled he will continue to play a major role in developing our players on and off the field for the next three seasons.

"It's testament to Razor's commitment and passion for New Zealand rugby and the Crusaders that he has decided to continue his career on home soil, and we look forward to his continued contribution."

The format of Super Rugby is still to be confirmed for next season with NZR and Rugby Australia reportedly split on how the competition should run.