Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has expressed interest on taking in charge of New Zealand as Steve Hansen is expected to make a decision on his future at end of year.
There were reports of Hansen might be replaced by current Ireland coach Joe Schmidt but the latter has put an end to the speculation as he has decided to end his coaching career post 2019 World Cup to spend time with his family.
Hansen's decision on his further association with the All Blacks will be a key factor and should he decide to step down after being associated with the team since 2004 - first as an assistant coach and then taking in charge in 2011 - Robertson, assistant coach Ian Foster and current Wales head coach Warren Gatland might be the top contenders.
“The All Blacks job doesn’t come up too often. When it does, you have to have a real good look at it,” Robertson told Reuters.
“The decision from Steve (Hansen) will play a really big part of it.
“The biggest thing for me, that’s served me well, is the patience side of it, and the ability to get your timing right.
“I’ve got a great job at the moment and I’ve got a big decision in the next three or four months — what’s going to happen in 2020, and I’ll just see where the cards fall with other coaches and just see what opportunities there are.”
Robertson had a productive stint with Crusaders after leading them to back to back Super Rugby titles since he joined them in 2017 and also helped New Zealand Under 20 side to a World Cup victory in 2015 in Italy.
The 44-year-old also lavished praise on Schmidt for his success with Ireland that saw them rise to the second position in World Rugby Rankings and said his decision to move on from the game should be respected.
“He’s a great coach, and obviously he’s made a family decision,” Robertson said.
“He might just need a year or two before he fills the tank again, but I know international rugby does take its toll.
“It’s rare that you go out on your own terms, and he’s gone out on his own terms this time. Good on him. It’s a big call and he’s done the right thing for him and his family.”