'The kids will remember it for the rest of their lives' - Jed Jaguars kids relish training session with All Blacks

A recent homecoming for New Zealand rugby sevens head coach Clark Laidlaw saw him return to Jedburgh with some All Blacks stars.

By Craig Goldthorp
Monday, 1st August 2022, 11:07 am
All Black players take the time for some photos with Jed Jaguars at Riverside (Pics by Bill McBurnie)
All Black players take the time for some photos with Jed Jaguars at Riverside (Pics by Bill McBurnie)

Laidlaw, 45, son of legendary Scotland and British Lions ace Roy Laidlaw and a cousin of Greig Laidlaw who also accomplished these feats on the international stage, is a former Jed-Forest stand-off who emigrated to New Zealand in 2008.

And he was delighted to bring a few of his players to Jed-Forest’s Riverside Park for a one-hour training session with young stars aged P3 to P6 from the Jed Jaguars youth team.

Jaguars convenor Claire Turnbull told The Southern Reporter: “The boys and girls were absolutely buzzing.

A rather cheeky Harry Nicol sporting his Ireland top for a photo op!

"When they heard that the All Blacks were coming originally they thought they were just going to get to see them.

"Then the invitation came to actually have a skills-based training session with them and they were as high as kites.

"The All Blacks actually led the training. It wasn’t a case of them being there as a novelty factor, so the children benefitted from it, it was brilliant.

"The rapport they had with the boys and girls was super. They were really friendly, couldn’t do enough for them and they all got autographs, tops and rugby balls signed.

"They really took time out to make it a memorable day for the kids. It’s something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.

"And our coaches were also able to get pointers for their own training as well.

"It was great for Clark to come back to Jedburgh with such an elite team.

"People from outwith the Jed Jags came along to see what was happening so there was a super buzz.”

Turnbull said that the New Zealand party were all very impressed with the training facilities at Jed-Forest, as they continued their preparations for competing at the Commonwealth Games rugby sevens tournament in Birmingham, which ran between Friday and Sunday.

A year after guiding New Zealand to silver medals at the Tokyo Olympics, Laidlaw led the All Blacks to bronze medals in Birmingham.

After clinching top spot in Pool A with wins over Sri Lanka, England and Samoa, the All Blacks beat Kenya 31-0 in the quarter-finals but then crashed 19-14 to Fiji in the semi-finals. In the bronze medal play-off, New Zealand beat Australia 26-12.