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.
“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.”