Former Scotland coach and All Black captain Todd Blackadder has given his backing to the Emirates Airline Edinburgh 7s (2 and 3 June), having been to the Wellington leg of IRB Sevens World Series in his native New Zealand.
The former Edinburgh Rugby coach, captain and player is excited about the prospect of the tournament heading to his former rugby home, Murrayfield Stadium, and recommends all the spectators heading to the event should come suitably attired and ready for a party.
He said: “It’s pretty exciting, eh? I’ve been to the Wellington Sevens here in New Zealand and it’s just awesome. You’ll really enjoy having an IRB tournament in Scotland, it will be great in Edinburgh.
“Murrayfield is a big stadium but the atmosphere you can get in there is unreal. I’d be great if everyone comes to the sevens in costumes and fancy dress so that it’s like a big party. That would be unbelievable,” he added.
As an uncapped 21 year old, Blackadder cut his teeth on international sevens at the Rugby World Cup Sevens at Murrayfield in 1993. He joined a list of young up and coming players poised to break onto the world stage, such as Australia’s Matt Burke and Scotland’s Gregor Townsend.
Blackadder reflected saying: “Yeah, that was many moons ago. It was a great experience for a young guy like me to be playing alongside these great All Blacks. I’ve never forgotten it. Sevens is great for players to travel all around the world and play in front of big crowds. It’s a totally different atmosphere.”
The great All Blacks to which he referred included Frank Bunce, the 55-times capped New Zealand centre, Samoan international and fellow former Scotland coach Pat Lam, who represented New Zealand in the tournament, and sevens specialist Eric Rush, who won 29 All Black caps in the XVs game.
Blackadder continued: “As a player it gives you the opportunity to play on the world stage and, for me, it helped kick start my career.”
The career that he then embarked upon included 12 test appearances for the All Blacks, 10 of which were as captain. He moved to Edinburgh Rugby, initially as a player, before taking over as captain and finally as coach following Frank Hadden’s move into the national coaching role.
Blackadder is now back in his homeland, where he took up the role of Director of Rugby for the Tasman Makos. Preparations are under way for the Air New Zealand Cup season, the replacement competition for the NPC.
Blackadder said: “It’s challenging but good. It’s nice being home but it’s all go with Tasman just now. We’ve got our first pre-season match at the beginning of July before our season kicks off against Taranaki at the end of that month.”
Tickets for the Emirates Airline Edinburgh 7s are on sale now and at only £10 for adults for one day or just £15 for both days (including free concessions on all pre-booked tickets). Visit www.edinburgh7s.com for all the latest news and book your tickets today.