Rugby: Crusaders coach Robertson keen on Lions role

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Canterbury Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said he has asked about joining the coaching staff of fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland when he leads the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa next year.

Robertson, who missed out on the All Blacks coaching job last year, said a role on the Lions tour would help give him some international experience.

“I thought, look if I can’t be involved with the All Blacks, what’s the biggest thing - or actually bigger in its own self - the Lions tour - to get involved,” Robertson told New Zealand radio station Gold AM on Friday.

“Obviously Gats (Gatland) has been hugely successful at the international level as a coach, so he’s a person to learn off and also allows me to not have to go offshore to actually coach and get that international experience.”

Gatland is taking a year off from coaching the Waikato Chiefs to coach the Lions.

Robertson guided the Crusaders to the domestic Super Rugby Aotearoa title earlier this month to add to their three successive Super Rugby titles since he took over in 2017.

The All Blacks appointed Ian Foster, an assistant coach for the past eight years, to succeed Steve Hansen.

Robertson said he had not heard anything back from Lions management yet.

The Lions play three tests, two in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town, against the world champion Springboks on an eight-match tour from July 3-Aug. 7 next year.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Richard Pullin