Scottish rugby legend Gavin Hastings couldn’t have picked a better time to come to the Cayman Islands.
The record points scoring full back is here for 10 days as a guest of the Cayman Islands Rugby Union. Hastings was at a golf scramble at the Britannia Golf Club on Saturday.
He said: ‘This has been my first time in the Caymans and I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far. Everyone’s been amazingly friendly and it’s been terrific.
‘It comes back to the Rugby World Cup and last year I met Derek Hjust outside Paris after entertaining a couple of boys, Campbell Law who is a stalwart of Cayman Islands rugby who was out there with the competition winner, Adam Lawson who got to go out there. Derek asked if I might like to come out to the Caymans and do a talk and some months later here I am.’
Hastings was suitably impressed with the Under-19s winning the Caribbean Championships and getting through to the next round of the World Cup.
‘Rugby is a great game for bringing people out and I think the Under-19s have done terrifically well.
‘That’s what you’re really looking at from guys like me, the future. Never mind about the seniors who are here now, if you can bring on the youngsters then who knows, in two or three generations’ time rugby may really take a grip in this part of the world.
‘There’s no doubt that they would benefit from extra funding from the IRB. Let’s hope that they’ll continue to get funding from them, that’s important.’
Hastings is not taking any clinic, partly because it is out of season, but he emphasised that he would love to come back. ‘This is a very laid back part of the world and everyone here’s said that it’s always been that.’
Hastings, 46, is chairman of Edinburgh Rugby Club in Scotland, one of only two professional sides there. Glasgow is the other one.
‘Andy Robinson, the World Cup winning England coach in 2003, is our coach. We were fourth in the Magners League last season and we’re keen to build on that and maybe get a run in Europe.
‘We’ve also got the Lions tour going to South Africa next year and HSBC are sponsoring and I’m one of four ambassadors for HSBC representing Scotland.
‘The other guys are Brian O’Driscoll from Northern Ireland, which is terrific, obviously, then Jason Robinson from England and Gareth Edwards from Wales. So we’re going to be busy supporting the Lions and their association with HSBC over the next 12 months or so.’