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VIP guest at rugby dinner

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By Fiona Reid
VIP guest at rugby dinner

DUMFRIES Saints' president Sharon Hiddleston welcomed Scotland’s top rugby coach Gregor Townsend as principal speaker at the club's 2022 annual dinner at the weekend.

Gregor started with a highly informative and amusing summary of his rugby career – starting aged seven at his local club Gala and progressing from the minis to the seniors in 1990 before moving abroad to broaden his experience in Australia, England and France. Returning to Scotland to play for Border Reivers, he got his first cap in 1993 – he earned 82 Caps and was chosen for two Lions tours to New Zealand andSouth Africa. He gave a particularly amusing account of having to face up to the legendary Kiwi, JonahLomu, in one of the Kiwi Tests.

In 2005, he began as player/coach with Border Reivers then in 2008 moved to assistant coach for the‘Scotland A’ side before stepping up to national coaching roles. He stood down from national coaching to replace Sean Lineen at Glasgow Warriors before becoming the Scotland national team head coach in May 2017. He stressed the benefits of working under Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer and gave a moving tribute with Scotland’s legend Tom Smith who died in April.

Congratulating Saints,he highlighted the importance of the involvement of parents and volunteers in clubs such as the Saints encouraging developing and participation by young people. He welcomed the coaching schemes across the range of junior age groups and, in particular, the efforts to develop women’s rugby. Gregor ended with a free flowing and amusing question and answer session.

Other speakers included club captain Jack Steele; Euan Mack, 1st XV coach; Bryan McLellan, 2nd XV coach;  and Liz McLellan presented trophies to winners of the annual awards.



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