The Herald - Herald Sport
Laidlaw set to take charge of Hurricanes
CLARK LAIDLAW has reversed the trend of overseas coaches being appointed to top posts in Scottish pro rugby by being put in charge of the Hurricanes Super Rugby Pacific franchise, based in Wellington, New Zealand, for their 2024 campaign.
The 45-year-old from the Scottish Borders – who is the son of former Scotland and Lions scrum-half Roy Laidlaw and cousin of recent Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw – will take up the role at the conclusion of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, replacing Jason Holland, who is becoming an assistant coach to the All Blacks under Scott Robertson after the Rugby World Cup.
Laidlaw has been head coach of the New Zealand Sevens team since 2017, having previously served as an assistant coach at Hurricanes under Mark Hammett and Chris Boyd between 2013 and 2015. He also had a period as assistant coach with London Irish between 2016 and 2018.
Born and raised in Jedburgh, the former stand-off made his Scotland Sevens debut in 2001, scored 246 points in the World Sevens Series, and competed in the 2006 Commonwealth Games, before moving to New Zealand in 2008, initially working in a rugby development role in Taranaki.
“I was a rugby development officer in Scotland and I was really conscious of becoming the same as everybody else in Scotland,” he said in 2017. “I was comfortable, had good relationships and good networks, I’d played at a reasonable level. I could have probably stayed there and worked my way through the system, but I always thought there was a bit more too it. There was more to the game, and I thought there was no better place to learn that than in New Zealand.
“I think more like a Kiwi than probably a Scotsman, when it comes to the game. Or I like to think I do. Having that positivity to play, that optimism that if it’s on, it’s on. I think that’s the key.”
Laidlaw became the first foreigner to coach a New Zealand national rugby team when he was given the Sevens job. The following year, he guided the side to gold at the Commonwealth Games and won the Rugby World Cup Sevens. Since then, he has led the team to HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series titles in 2020 and 2023 and won a silver medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.