Scott Robertson confirmed as next All Blacks coach

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Scott Robertson will become the next coach of the All Blacks, taking over from Ian Foster after this year's Rugby World Cup in France.

New Zealand Rugby [NZR] made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon [NZT], just a fortnight after confirming an interview process would result in the new coach being named within "four to six weeks".

Robertson beat out Japan coach Jamie Joseph for the right to take on what is arguably the highest profile job in world rugby, the Crusaders boss to replace Foster on a four-year deal through to the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

"It's an honour to be named as the next All Blacks Head Coach," Robertson said via a media release.

"It's a job that comes with a huge amount of responsibility, but I'm excited by the opportunity to make a contribution to the legacy of the black jersey. To represent your country, as a coach or player, is the ultimate honour in sport and it's humbling to be given that opportunity. I can't wait."

NZR made no apologies for its decision to name a new coach for 2024 ahead of the World Cup, but said it was now completely behind Foster and his coaching team for the run to France for the rest of the season.

"We were very happy with the calibre and quality of the people involved and would like to thank all of those who took part in the process," NZR chairperson Dame Patsy Reddy said.

"The decision to appoint the next All Blacks Head Coach ahead of the Rugby World Cup was not taken lightly, but we believe it was the right decision for New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks and will set the team up for future success.

"We congratulate Scott on his appointment and look forward to working together in 2024, but have also been clear that New Zealand Rugby's full support this year will be focused on the current All Blacks coaching team as we look toward the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France."

While disappointed to be working in an environment where the next coach would be named before the All Blacks contested this year's global showpiece in France, Foster on Sunday said he had enjoyed some frank discussions with his own coaching team and was now focused on bringing the Webb Ellis Trophy back to New Zealand for a record fourth time.

But he did not want to weigh in on the process to find his replacement.

"We were able to clear the air a little bit and talk about what's happening and the uncertainty, because it has created an interesting vibe in the group," Foster told Sky Sport's The Breakdown.

"We're a little bit unsure yet what the processes are for communicating with that group, but we're tight, we're really connected.

"The one thing we need to share with people is we're 100% focused on this World Cup and that's all we want to do and all we want to be."

Robertson, meanwhile, has been rewarded for a seven-year run with the Crusaders that has yielded six Super Rugby titles.

While NZ Rugby has previously favoured a candidate with overseas coaching experience, it appears Robertson's near faultless run with the Crusaders was impossible to ignore.

Robertson had threatened to look overseas if he was not given the opportunity to coach the All Blacks, but with only the Scotland job seemingly vacant from next year he was always favoured to remain at home.

Joseph, meanwhile, is off contract with the Brave Blossoms after the World Cup and may seek a return home to New Zealand, where he won a Super Rugby title with the Highlanders in 2015, or chase a job overseas in European rugby.

But there is no doubting that Robertson's appointment from 2024 will ease the collective soul of All Blacks fans, particularly those from New Zealand's south island, after he missed out on the role to Foster in 2019.

Then, last year, after the All Blacks had lost a home series to Ireland for the first time, and were then defeated by the Springboks in the first of their two Tests in South Africa, NZR entertained the idea of dumping Foster and replacing him with Robertson.

But when the All Blacks bounced back to beat the Springboks later, and with the public backing of several senior All Blacks, Foster was retained through to this year's World Cup.

After several false starts, Robertson is at last now on his way to the highest post in New Zealand rugby.

"I'd like to congratulate Scott on his appointment," NZR chief executive Mark Robinson added. "His coaching record speaks for itself in terms of success, but what came through strongly during the interview process was his innovative approach to the game, his passion for his players, and his desire to add to the All Blacks legacy.

"We firmly believe he is the right person to lead the team in 2024 and beyond."