Clark Laidlaw appointed Hurricanes head coach

45-year-old has been in charge of the New Zealand Sevens team since 2017

Clark Laidlaw has been appointed head coach of the Hurricanes Super Rugby Pacific franchise. Image: Craig Watson
Clark Laidlaw has been appointed head coach of the Hurricanes Super Rugby Pacific franchise. Image: Craig Watson

CLARK LAIDLAW has been appointed head coach of the Hurricanes Super Rugby Pacific franchise. The 45-year-old – who is the son of former Scotland and Lions scrum-half Roy Laidlaw and cousin of recent Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw – will take up his new role at the conclusion of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, following the departure of current head coach, Jason Holland, who will link up with the All Blacks as an assistant coach to 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.

2023 Super Series Sprint Leaderboard – THE FINAL RECKONING

Steve Tandy, John Dalziel and Pieter de Villiers agree contract extensions

Boroughmuir Bears extend partnership with Deans Properties LLP

“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 an interview with Stuff website 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 in 2017. 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

“I am really proud of all we have achieved with the All Blacks Sevens,” he said. “We’ve seen a lot of success but also had our fair share of challenges. The ability to coach a national team for pinnacle events, with the opportunities, learnings and team connections that come with it is really special. It felt like the right time to take on a new challenge as Head Coach of the Hurricanes, while building on what is already a really strong team.”

Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee said: “His coaching record speaks for itself in terms of success,” said “He’s done a superb job for the Sevens, so we’re thrilled to see him return to the Hurricanes and continue to build on the great work of Jason Holland and the current wider coaching team. Clark will bring a unique set of skills to the Hurricanes and help our Club realise its ambitions.

“Obviously, having been Assistant Coach to the Hurricanes from 2013-2015, he already has some fantastic connections and relationships in the Club. We’re excited about what he will bring to the Club on-field but also look forward to watching his influence on the culture and our people.”

NZR General Manager Professional Rugby and Performance, Chris Lendrum added: “Clark’s move to the Hurricanes is an exciting progression in his coaching career and is a great example of how new and different experiences develop our top coaches. He has constantly challenged himself throughout his six-year tenure with the All Blacks Sevens, developed a large number of young men on and off the field, and achieved a huge amount of success.”

2023 Super Series Sprint Leaderboard – THE FINAL RECKONING

About David Barnes 3537 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Closer to home, when are we going to hear about the appointment of Edinburgh’s new coach ? Mike Blair announced he would be stepping down last Februaury and Edinburgh fans are being pressed into renewing season tickets in blind faith when they don’t know who will be in charge. The World Cup will be largely disruptive this year, but surely the new man/woman needs to be in place soon to get to know the squad and set up the systems and regime so we start the domestic league raring to go.

  2. Maybe a future Scotland coach in a few years time. He’s certainly got a good range of experiences that not many Scottish coaches could match.

    • My thoughts exactly. You don’t get to coach any all blacks team, at any grade unless you are an excellent coach. Certainly one to keep an eye on.


Comments are closed.