Rugby - Laidlaw returns to Wellington Hurricanes as head coach

  • Rugby
  • Tuesday, 30 May 2023

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Newcastle Falcons v London Irish - Aviva Premiership - Kingston Park - 17/4/16 London Irish assistant coach Clark Laidlaw Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Ed Sykes Livepic

(Reuters) - Clark Laidlaw, who guided New Zealand to a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympic rugby sevens, has been appointed Wellington Hurricanes head coach for the 2024 season.

It will be the Scotsman's second stint at the Super Rugby Pacific side, having been assistant coach to Mark Hammett and Chris Boyd between 2013 and 2015.

He replaces Jason Holland, who is stepping down at the end of the season to take an assistant coaching role under Scott Robertson at the All Blacks after this year's World Cup in France.

The first foreigner to be appointed head coach of a New Zealand rugby team, Laidlaw guided the sevens side to Commonwealth Games gold in 2018 and the Rugby World Cup Sevens title the same year.

He also led them to a record-extending 14th World Rugby Sevens Series championship two weeks ago, having also captured the 2019-20 title.

"I am really proud of all we have achieved with the All Blacks Sevens," Laidlaw said in a team statement.

"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."

New Zealand media reported Laidlaw had also fielded interest from the Auckland Blues, who are searching for a coach to replace Leon MacDonald in 2024.

MacDonald is stepping down from the Blues to join Robertson's All Blacks staff as an assistant coach.

The Hurricanes are fifth on the Super Rugby Pacific table ahead of their final match of the regular season against the champion Canterbury Crusaders in Wellington on Saturday.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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