Legendary rugby international Donna and footballer Iain enjoy success on the world stage

Two Vets Now staff are looking forward to putting their feet up over the summer after achieving success on the world stage.

Legendary rugby international Donna Kennedy, who is a regional director at Vets Now, ended the season coaching all-star team the Barbarians in their first ever women’s test match in Denver, Colorado.

Meanwhile, footballer Iain Harrison, who is our content marketing manager, has just returned from 10 days in Bangkok, Thailand, where he helped Scotland achieve third place in the Seniors World Cup.

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Image of Iain Harrison and Donna Kennedy for Vets Now article on staff sporting achievements
Donna (left) and Anna Richards (right), coached the all-star Barbarians in their first ever women’s test match while Iain played for Scotland in the Seniors World Cup

Donna, 47, said: “It was an amazing experience in Denver, a real landmark occasion, and I was immensely proud to coach such a talented team. The fact we beat the USA with a last-minute try was the icing on the cake.”

Iain, 44, added: “It’s every kid’s dream to represent their country in international competition and the fact I managed it pretty late in life as far as football is concerned made it all the sweeter. It was an experience I’ll never, ever forget.”

Donna’s call-up to coach the Barbarians was the latest accolade in a glittering career in women’s rugby that stretches back to the early 1990s when she was part of the first ever Scotland international squad.

She went on to win a record-breaking 115 caps — amazingly all starts — before retiring after the World Cup in England in 2010.

More recently, she was inducted into Scottish Rugby’s Hall of Fame, alongside legends such as ex-British Lions coach Jim Telfer and former men’s team captain Gavin Hastings, for her towering contribution to the oval ball game.

Image of Donna Kennedy for Vets Now article on staff sporting achievements
Donna said it was an amazing experience and she was immensely proud to coach such a talented team

Donna said: “That came as a shock at the time, but looking back, it wasn’t just recognition of my rugby career, it was recognition of the women’s game in general. It was a massive honour and something I’m very proud of.

“But the invitation to coach the Barbarians was right up there with it. When I was a player I was lucky enough to turn out for the Nomads select team, but to now have a female Barbarians team shows just how far the game has come in the last few years.

“I just think that the Barbarians is such an important thing to keep going to uphold the values of rugby as we enter an ever more professional age. Players still want to get to know players from other countries and play alongside them and the experience was fantastic for everyone involved.

“To be coaching alongside Anna Richards, a legend of the game, was also amazing and it was nice to be on the same side as her for once!”

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    Image of Scotland Seniors football team for Vets Now article on staff sporting achievements
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    Image of Iain and his children for Vets Now article on staff sporting achievements

While Iain’s sporting career did not quite hit the heights of Donna’s, he was equally as proud to achieve recognition for his abilities, especially considering most players of his age have long since hung up their boots.

He said: “The Seniors World Cup is for players aged at least 38, with each team having to field three outfield players aged 50 and over, four between 44 and 49, and three between 38 and 43.

“Nine teams competed and we were fortunate enough to reach the semi-finals, alongside Iran, England and Thailand. Sadly, we lost 2-1 to England after they were awarded a last-minute penalty. The fact former English Premiership stars Barry Hayles, Deon Burton and Sean Davis combined to win it shows you the quality we were up against.”

Iran eventually ran out winners of the tournament while Scotland finished third after beating Thailand in a play-off.

Iain added: “The entire experience was something else. We played our games in the national stadium, stayed in a plush hotel with all the other teams and were transported to our games and training sessions on a luxury coach.

“The hardest thing was playing five games in six days in lung-busting 40°C heat. It was torture.

“But running out of the tunnel in your country’s colours before singing the national anthem alongside a group of guys who you know you will always be able to count on as friends, more than made up for that.”