Ex-Scots players head for New Zealand coach program

EX-Scotland players Duncan
Hodge and Ben Cairns are the latest recipients of the John Macphail Coaching Scholarship

Ben Cairns, along with Duncan Hodge, is New Zealandbound. Picture: SNS

Scotland backs coach Hodge and Currie head coach Cairns, who led his team to fourth in the BT Premiership in his first year in charge, will travel to Christchurch, New Zealand, this weekend, as the latest to benefit from the scheme.

Hodge and Cairns will be immersed in the Canterbury High Performance Unit for three weeks, under the guidance of John Haggart, the former Otago stand-off who has managed the international program in Christchurch since 2008.

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Hodge said: “This is a massive opportunity. Thanks to the Robertson Scholarship Trust and Macphail family for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, which I’m incredibly lucky and privileged to have.

“I’m really looking forward to learning and growing in an elite environment, such as this.”

Cairns said: “I’m very excited to be given this opportunity. Since retiring from playing 
I have immersed myself in coaching.

“The Scholarship will accelerate my coaching knowledge. I have never had the chance to go to New Zealand, and for me there is no better place in the world to further my learning.”

The Macphail Scholarship was established in memory of former Scotland hooker John Macphail, who died in 2004.

Previous coaching recipients of the John Macphail Scholarship include Kenny Murray, Don Caskie, Shade Munro, Chris 
Paterson and Iain Monaghan.

Meanwhile, six coaches from the professional game, top level of the club game and Scotland’s age-grade sides will travel to 
Verona, Italy, to attend the annual Six Nations Coaching Conference. Bruce Aitchison (Boroughmuir), Calum Forrester (Ayr), David Wilson (Scotland under-16), Ben Fisher (BT Sport Scottish Rugby and Scotland under-18), Bryan Easson (BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy) and Kenny Murray (Glasgow Warriors) will travel to Italy for the course, which will include presentations by Gregor Townsend and Jake White.