Hundreds of north-east rugby stars will attempt to follow in the footsteps of former Scotland captain Rob Wainwright this weekend in the Lathallan Snowdrop Sevens.
Teams from Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dundee and Perth will compete at the ninth annual event at Johnshaven-based Lathallan School as a fundraising event for My Name’5 Doddie and the Bill McLaren Foundation.
The school was home to Wainwright, capped 37 times for Scotland, in the late 1970s and is where he first discovered his passion for rugby.
“It’s fantastic that Lathallan offers an annual rugby sevens tournament,” said Wainwright. “Playing sevens really prepares you for full-sided games.
“You need so much speed, stamina and technique to make it as a sevens player and if you can do it at a good level then it can take you all over the world. I was lucky enough to travel to some incredible places playing sevens – Amsterdam, Estoril, Dublin, Singapore and Kenya but the highlight for me was the Hong Kong 7s.
“We’ve got great young players coming through and many start at sevens.
“They may be the best at their level but they should always go into a bigger pond and swim against others.
“If you are the best at something or think you are the very best then you become complacent and stop working hard at it.
“You have to get in the mindset that there is always someone better than you and that’s the advice I’d give any young players breaking into the international set-up from Lathallan.
“I have fond memories of Lathallan. I spent five years there when it was a prep school and there were less than 100 pupils at the school. It was the perfect environment to start my school career and I hope it prepares some of the current pupils to go on and have successful careers.”
Two current Lathallan pupils are in the international set-up with Tim Brown on the brink of the Scotland Under-18s, having been involved with both the Under-16s and Under-17s, and Archie Wilson in Wales preparing for a Scotland Under-16s tournament.
With current full Scotland cap Matt Fagerson another famous former star of Lathallan Sevens, Brown insists that underlines the value of the tournament. He said: “When you see a player like Matt Fagerson, who played at the Lathallan Sevens, go on to make it at international level it makes you think.
“He played here when I was young, at my school, and that has inspired me.
“He is now playing in front of more than 60,000 people at Murrayfield but at one point he was like me, on the same pitch as I play on at Lathallan.”
Lathallan Snowdrop Sevens, renamed after tournament sponsors Snowdrop Developments which specialises in designing award-winning bespoke homes in the north-east, kicks off at 10.30am on Saturday at Lathallan School.
It will feature a host of teams including Carnoustie, High School of Dundee, Montrose, Mackie, Robert Gordon’s College, Strathallan and Deeside.