Scott Robertson has revealed his new coaching contract with the Crusaders has a clause in it with NZ Rugby which will allow him to opt out early if he is unsuccessful in a future bid for the All Blacks job.
Robertson announced a new deal with the Crusaders this morning which will see him remain at the club until 2024.
Speaking to media after the announcement, Robertson was asked if there was a clause in his contract around the "next All Blacks coach process", to which he surprised everyone with his blunt, honest answer.
Robertson was then asked if he could elaborate, which he did after a cheeky laugh.
"If I don't get the job, there is an exit after 23 but if I want to stay around, I can," he explained.
"That was all part of the loyalty and probably why it took a bit longer than we hoped, just to make sure we get the wording right and whenever the next All Blacks role comes up, that's still my goal.
"I've got opportunities if I don't get it and if I do get it, great."
After Sir Steve Hansen retired from the All Blacks coaching job at the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the race to replace him quickly boiled down to two contestants with Robertson and then-assistant coach Ian Foster the frontrunners.
Despite Robertson's impressive Super Rugby record and a bid which involved Blues coach Leon MacDonald and Crusaders assistant Jason Ryan, NZR went with Foster as Hansen's successor on an initial deal which expires at the end of this year.
It's unlikely Foster will lose the job this year barring a horror season with the team, meaning after the 2023 Rugby World Cup will likely shape up as Robertson's next real chance to push for his dream job.
Robertson admitted the clause was partly why it took so long for his new contract to finally pan out.
"We just had to make sure that coming into the next opportunity I had flexibility," Robertson said.
"When you're around and you show some loyalty, they should show that in return."
After plenty of "back and forwards" for eight months, the deal was finally signed although Robertson admitted he did look at overseas offers in that time.
"I had a look at the world market and a couple of opportunities overseas just to make sure that what you are getting paid and what is out there is comparable and it was."