The Crusaders have announced that Scott Robertson will replace Todd Blackadder at the helm of their coaching team from 2017.
Blackadder announced at the start of the 2016 season that it would be his last, sparking the process to appoint his successor and Robertson, a former Crusaders, Canterbury and All Blacks loose forward, has been confirmed as the successful candidate to lead the team from 2017 through to 2019.
Robertson is the current head coach of the Canterbury national provincial team, taking the job in 2013 and guiding the team to two Premiership titles in that role so far. He also assisted the team to five successive titles between 2008 and 2012, first as the assistant forwards coach for four years and then as the assistant coach in 2012.
He has also enjoyed success in his first year as head coach of the New Zealand U20 team, claiming victory at the 2015 U20 World Championship. Prior to that he was the forwards coach in 2014. Robertson is currently with the New Zealand U20 squad in Manchester.
Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said Robertson has the credentials and vision to be an outstanding Super Rugby coach.
"Scott is a highly skilled coach who we believe is absolutely ready for the step up to Super Rugby," he told the Crusaders' official website.
"He has been an important contributor to the incredible success that the Canterbury team has enjoyed over the past eight years and he has also earned respect on the world stage as Head Coach of the New Zealand Under 20 team.
"We had a highly contested process with some exceptional candidates, so that made it a very difficult decision in some ways. However, we are very excited about what Scott Robertson offers this team and thrilled to be appointing him to the role."
Robertson revealed that taking on the head coach role would be like a dream come true.
“This is a team I have played for, am passionate about and looking forward to leading," he said.
"The head coach of the Crusaders is regarded as one of the best jobs in the world, so I couldn’t be more excited to be taking it on.
“When I think about the remarkable men who have done the job before me, including current head coach Todd Blackadder, I am humbled and honoured to be stepping into their shoes.
"The previous and current coaching teams have built an impressive legacy and I take the responsibility of continuing and building on that legacy very seriously.
"The playing group is a great bunch of men who I am excited to work with; I will give everything to this role and am ready to take on the opportunity."
New Zealand Rugby general manager Rugby Neil Sorensen welcomed Robertson’s appointment as an exciting new chapter for the Crusaders.
"I’m delighted for Scott and for Crusaders and Canterbury fans who I am sure will also celebrate his appointment," he said.
"The appointment process was an incredibly tough one with high quality candidates. Scott will be a great addition to the Crusaders and New Zealand Rugby families.
"He is highly regarded as a great communicator and strategist and players thrive under his leadership."
Robertson will continue in his role as head coach of the Canterbury team for the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup season, before starting in his new job.
A process to complete the makeup of the Crusaders 2017 coaching team will take place at the end of the current season.