Cottesloe product and former RugbyWA Academy member Nick Haining has continued his remarkable rise to stardom in the Northern Hemisphere, after he was named to make his test debut for Scotland in their opening Six Nations clash against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.
29 year old Haining was a shock selection in Gregor Townsend’s Scotland side that was named on Thursday, and after an impressive start to his career with Edinburgh in the Guinness Pro 14 this season, he has been trusted to go to battle against the Ireland at no.8
Born in Fremantle, Haining qualifies to play for Scotland through his Scottish grandmother Norma who was born in Dundee however now resides in Perth.
Haining grew up playing his club rugby for Cottesloe where he represented their first grade side between 2009 and 2014 and was awarded the PG Hampshire award in 2012.
In 2013, whilst being a Future Force Academy member, Haining got his first taste of international rugby when he played on the wing for the Western Force against the British and Irish Lions at Subiaco Oval. In that same game he played on Sean Maitland who is now his Scotland teammate.
Nick came to a crossroads in life in 2014 when he was forced to weigh up his future. He set off to England where he signed for English Championship side Jersey Reds joining his Cottesloe teammate Tobias Hoskins.
Haining amassed an impressive reputation for himself at the Jersey Reds where he transformed himself into one of the most damaging ball carriers in the English Championship, scoring 23 tries in 66 appearances for the club.
In 2017, Haining turned to a new chapter in his rugby career when he signed for the Bristol Bears and made an immediate impact, helping them secure promotion to the English Premiership after just one season.
Being Scottish qualified, it didn’t take long for people in Scottish rugby circles to ask who this Aussie superman was who had come from nowhere.
After signing for Scottish Pro 14 side Edinburgh last year, Nick caught the attention of Scotland coach Gregor Townsend who has high praise for the back-rower.
“He has nice skills, good handling and he’s a big man. He has good footwork, he started the season well for Edinburgh and the Cardiff away game he really stood out.”
“He’s a skillful player, a powerful ball carrier and a good defender. To us coaches he has attributes to do well at international level.”
At 29 years of age Nick Haining has defied the odds to debut at test level, and will look to continue his stellar form as Scotland go on the hunt for their first Six Nations title since 1999.