Scotland Star Shines In The North

Scotland Star Shines In The North

Scotland’s Nick De Luca was the centre of attention on Orkney this past weekend as a reward for the local rugby club’s culinary expertise.De Luca, the 11-times capped Edinburgh back, visited Orkney’s rugby club following the mince and haggis lasagne recipe the club concocted to win Scottish Rugby’s pasta challenge during the most recent RBS 6 Nations Championship. The delectable dish was chosen by De Luca and his Scotland team-mate, prop Euan Murray, from a shortlist of haute cuisine from Aberdeenshire, Stirling County and Broughton Rugby Clubs.De Luca enjoyed a reprise of the dish when he met its creator, Anne Stewart, in Kirkwall. Well-fuelled, De Luca then embarked on a whistle-stop tour.  He began with a trip to Kirkwall Grammar School where he joined teacher Adrian Askew and volunteer coaches working with pupils from first to fourth year.De Luca gave them some pointers on passing and tackling techniques and later signed autographs and distributed Scotland and Edinburgh posters.He said: “There’s unquestionably some good raw talent here and, it’s important to support the volunteer coaches as without these guys the kids wouldn’t have the chance to play.  I know that from my own experience growing up in Lockerbie.”From there, De Luca travelled down to Pickaquoy, Orkney’s home ground where the club’s annual sevens tournament was underway.  In addition to 15 teams in the senior event – for which De Luca made the draw – there was an under-16 tournament and a massive mini-rugby competition too.De Luca supported the mini-rugby event, becoming a lucky mascot for the Dounby P4/P5 team, as players from some of the outer islands, Egilsay, Rousay, Flotta and North Ronaldsay, joined in the funDe Luca took keen interest in the senior tournament too, watching his former club, Heriot’s account for North Berwick in their opening tie, before mingling with many of the Orkney club’s sponsors.Rodney Spence, chairman of Orkney RFC, said: “It’s been fantastic to have Nick with us.  The impact it makes, particularly on the children, to have a current Scotland internationalist here, is brilliant.”Rounding off a perfect day for the club, the sevens was played in dry and bright conditions, attracted a crowd of around 1,000 and ended with Orkney’s first seven beating the holders, Peebles, 24-7 in the final. Before travelling to Orkney De Luca and Scotland 7s internationalist Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors) had visited Millburn Academy in Inverness.There they had congratulated two members of the school’s S2 team, Andrew Kellock and John Clarke.  The teenagers, already recipients of Young Scot awards, were presented with signed Scotland rugby balls and Scotland shirts, to mark their quick-thinking and composure when they successfully brought their school minibus to a halt after their teacher had collapsed at the wheel.The incident happened when they were returning from a school rugby match against Plockton High earlier this year.Vernon, who was also promoting the final leg of the IRB Sevens World Series, the Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens Festival at Murrayfield at the end of May (30 and 31), said: “What Andrew and John did was an amazing feat and we’ve been delighted to come to the school today to congratulate them personally and join in with some of their rugby coaching drills.”

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