Vern Cotter dramatically split ways with the Flying Fijians at the start of the month, just eight months out from the Rugby World Cup in France.
Matters got worse for the union a week later with news that assistant coach Richie Gray was also leaving, saying that he considered he had to exit from ‘an integrity point of view’ after the departure of Cotter.
It’s left Fiji looking for a head coach and now the FRU acting chief executive Tevita Tuiloa has said he has offered the job to Robertson.
‘I know he’s a surfer so I told him look you can come to cloud break in Tavarua and come and surf some clouds, some barrels, some big waves there and come and coach the Flying Fijians, we’ll give that to you for free and you can help our boys reach the quarterfinals,” joked Tuiloa.
It may be of a hail Mary on the FRU’s part, but it would offer Robertson Test experience in the biggest rugby arena of them all. The process of head-hunting the next Flying Fijians head coach is set to get wrapped up in the next few weeks.
It would dovetail nicely with Robertson’s current role as Super Rugby head coach at the Crusaders. He could potentially complete the upcoming Super Rugby season before taking over at Fiji with several months to go before the France 2023.
Robertson is many people’s favourite to takeover from Ian Foster as head coach of the All Blacks after the Rugby World Cup. The 48-year-old threw the cat among pigeons last week when he said the announcement of a new All Blacks coach is imminent.
New Zealand Rugby has rushed to douse speculation they are about to announce an appointment. “New Zealand Rugby is continuing to have internal discussions but an announcement about the All Blacks head coach or process is not imminent,” the body said in a one-sentence statement.
Robertson maintains he has some knowledge of how and when the process will play out.
“Whatever their process is, they’ve just got to give me enough run-in time whenever they go and I can do my job here at (the Crusaders),” Robertson said.