Robertson is to replace Ian Foster in the high-profile post with New Zealand after signing a four-year contract that will take him through to the 2027 World Cup. The 48-year-old has beaten Japan boss Jamie Joseph to the role and his rise to the sought-after position having been seen as inevitable by some, having guided the Crusaders to six consecutive Super Rugby titles.
“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,” former New Zealand back-rower Robertson said. “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.”
Turn the clock back nearly 30 years and Robertson represented Scottish club Ayr off the back of playing the 1993/94 season with Ards in Ulster as a 19-year-old. He previously told former Scotland second-row Jim Hamilton on The Rugby Pod podcast: “I used to play for Ayr, by the way. I was playing for Ards in Northern Ireland and when that finished I got a call to go over and play [in Scotland]. It was incredible, a great time in my life, I was 19-years-old and I’d left school to go and play some rugby abroad and play in different leagues.
“I remember the Robert Burns statue [in Ayr] and they used to pay me, I think it was £20 or maybe £50 quid, for every try that I scored, so there were a lot of ‘shove and goes’ [by the forward pack]! I scored two or three tries which was great, but every time I was given the money it was straight back over the bar [in the clubhouse] within 20 minutes as everyone was asking me to buy them a beer! It was an awesome experience for me, I loved Ayr.”