Happy again: Queenstown rugby fan Lachlan Beames, 7

In a case of bad luck bringing good luck, Queenstown lad Lachlan Beames is going to rub shoulders with his Highlanders heroes after all.

Last week, the seven-year-old thought all his Christmases were coming at once after he won the Competition.

He was overjoyed at the prospect of carrying the match ball to the middle of Sir John Davies Oval for last Sunday’s Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Melbourne Rebels, and sitting on the Highlanders team bench with his dad, Gareth.

But the Wakatipu Rugby Club under-8 player’s hopes were crushed when a Covid outbreak in Melbourne, and subsequent being moved to Sydney.

Lachlan’s once-in-a-lifetime chance to get close to his second-favourite player in the world, Aaron Smith (Beauden Barrett’s number one, sorry Aaron), appeared to have gone forever.

But the Highlanders have come to the party, offering Lachlan the role of this Saturday night’s game against the Waratahs at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium. From his spot on the team bench with his dad, he’ll be running out the kicking tee for try conversions.

He’s also getting a team jersey, while his mum and big sister, Freya, 8, have got tickets for the stand.

Gareth says Lachlan’s “got a smile on his dial again”, and the whole family’s grateful to the Highlanders for looking after them.

In more good news, after hearing about Lachlan’s plight, Otago Museum marketing boss Kate Oktay has given the Beames a family pass to the museum’s Tuhura Science Centre.