New Zealand Rugby have got their man, but they will have to wait for him.

The Herald last month revealed that Clark Laidlaw was the frontrunner to replace Sir Gordon Tietjens as the All Blacks Sevens coach. The stumbling block was that he was in the middle of a three-year deal as assistant at the London Irish club.

It appears Laidlaw has been granted a release from the final year of his deal in Britain, allowing him to take up the New Zealand post from June 1, 2017.

Laidlaw has previously been the All Blacks Sevens skills coach and video analyst, the programme lead for Taranaki and Wellington Sevens, and Hurricanes assistant coach from 2013-15. Son of the great Scottish halfback Roy Laidlaw, he also played sevens for Scotland from 2004-07.


New Zealand Rugby general manager of rugby Neil Sorensen said appointing Laidlaw was about getting the best person for the job.

"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."

Laidlaw said he was excited about the new role.

"I am massively honoured to be coming back to coach a team I have always considered very special. 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'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," said Laidlaw.

Scott Waldrom, who applied for the top job, will, along with sevens veteran Tomasi Cama, coach the All Blacks Sevens for the 2016-17 World Series, which starts in Dubai in just over a fortnight.

That leaves little time to select and sort players, so this season might be a rebuilding one until Laidlaw takes the reins in June.