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PRESS RELEASE

Former Scotland sevens player Clark Laidlaw has been unveiled as the new All Blacks Sevens head coach, although he will not take up his post until 1 June, 2017.

Laidlaw, currently assistant coach of English Championship club London Irish, has formerly worked as skills coach and video analyst under former New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens.

In the interim period, former All Blacks Sevens players Scott Waldrom and Tomasi Cama will take charge of the team in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, which kicks off in Dubai on 2-3 December.

“I am massively honoured to be coming back to coach a team I have always considered very special,” admitted Clark, who played 23 series tournaments for Scotland from 2001-06 as well as RWC Sevens 2005 and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

“I’m also excited about coaching a team I’ve previously worked with and played against. 
 
“My goal is to develop a world-class programme that sees players peak at pinnacle events.  Everything is going to be geared towards bringing home gold from Tokyo in 2020. 
 
“I intend to build a technically, tactically and physically integrated programme that grows great players and delivers success on the field. Sevens should be a route to develop players for Super Rugby and the All Blacks, and be an important part of players’ development pathways. 

OLYMPIC GOLD THE LONG-TERM VISION

“I’m excited to be coming back to New Zealand. I previously lived here for seven years, I’ve got great friends in the New Zealand rugby community and it’s where my wife and I want to raise our daughters. I can’t wait to get started.

“This is a great move for both me and my family, and I would like to thank London Irish and New Zealand Rugby for working together to make this move happen.”

New Zealand Rugby General Manager of Rugby Neil Sorensen added: “We are very excited to have selected a coach of Clark’s calibre to lead the All Blacks Sevens to success at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. His specialist experience as both a sevens coach and player makes him uniquely qualified for this role. 

“Our priority was getting the right coach with the long-term vision to win Olympic gold. So while we would have loved Clark to start straight away, we are happy to wait until next year because he is the best person for the job to build a winning sevens team over the long term. 

“Clark has the vision to develop an exciting sevens team and the skills to develop quality rugby players that will add to the pool of talent in the New Zealand rugby system.

“Clark has a proven track record in rugby. He was an innovative coach of the Taranaki sevens team and a respected skills coach of the All Blacks Sevens. He is well known and respected in rugby and it will be great to have him back here.

“We have established an interim coaching team to grow our sevens coaching depth. Scott and Tomasi are two young men with a lot of sevens experience already. But we’re excited about giving them the opportunity to step up and further develop their coaching skills.”