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All Blacks-Bound Robertson Delighted As Crusaders Retain Crown

  • 2 min read

Outgoing Canterbury Crusaders coach Scott Robertson declared himself “proud” and “thankful” as he celebrated a successful conclusion to his spell with the Christchurch-based outfit by retaining the Super Rugby Pacific title on Saturday.

Robertson, who will take over from Ian Foster as New Zealand coach following the Rugby World Cup finals, led the Crusaders to a nail-biting 25-20 win over the Waikato Chiefs in Hamilton to secure his seventh trophy in seven years at the team’s helm.

“I’m really proud to call myself a Crusader, as a player and a coach,” said former forward Robertson, who also represented the outfit as a player from 1996 until 2003.

“You don’t often get to be successful in both. I’ve been going to Rugby Park for 23 years in a different capacity. I love the game and rugby has given me and my family so much.

“I’m really thankful. To finish on this note makes it even more special because it could have gone the other way.”

Robertson masterminded victory for his injury-ravaged squad against a Chiefs side that had been Super Rugby’s dominant force throughout the campaign, topping the regular season standings and losing only once prior to Saturday’s defeat.

The win was confirmed in stoppage time by a penalty from Richie Mo’unga, one of several key players due to leave the Crusaders to take up contracts overseas, as the visitors won a tight contest in which the lead changed hands on four occasions.

“Richie was sublime,” Robertson said of the All Blacks playmaker, who scored 15 of the Crusaders’ 25 points in his final game before moving to Japan.

“He’s a finals footballer, a genuine, world-class finals footballer. He’s a winner who stays in the fight.

“We’ll miss everyone. Well, the next two days we’re not because we’re going to make sure they participate heavily (in the celebrations).

“I will enjoy the next few days and will do a lot of reminiscing. I haven’t done any until now.”

Robertson also paid tribute to Clayton McMillan’s Chiefs side, whose hopes of success were ultimately dashed by ill-discipline and a trio of yellow card offences.

“[The Chiefs] would have deserved it and well done,” said Robertson. “They’ve had a great season and Clayton has put a good squad together.

“The Chiefs were unbelievable. Their defence was incredible, but it’s small margins.”