Rugby Canada announces re-structuring of the Men’s High Performance Program

Rugby Canada
Rugby 7s Senior Men

May 2, 2019 –LANGFORD, B.C.– As part of continued efforts to improve performance, Rugby Canada is making changes to the National Senior Men’s 7s Program leadership, announcing today that Damian McGrath has been released from his contract as Head Coach National Senior Men’s 7s Team with immediate effect.  Henry Paul, current Assistant Coach with the Men’s 15s National Senior Team will assume the role of Interim Head Coach National Senior Men’s 7s Team effective immediately.

“The pinnacle event in 2019 for the Men’s 7s program is the 2020 Olympic Games regional qualification this July in Grand Cayman, and the result at this tournament is paramount to ensure qualification for the Olympic Games. A change in leadership now provides the team an opportunity to refine their play through the final two stops on the WRSS and ensure thorough preparation for the RAN qualifying tournament,” said Allen Vansen, CEO, Rugby Canada. “We would like to thank Damian for his time with Rugby Canada and the contributions he made to our 7s development, and wish him well in his future endeavours.” 

Rugby Canada also announced today the formation of its Performance Leadership Group, which will lead the High Performance operations of all Rugby Canada’s National Teams, and make technical decisions as they pertain to team performance. The Performance Leadership Group has been created to ensure collaboration across all Rugby Canada high performance initiatives, and will be comprised of Kingsley Jones - Head Coach National Men’s 15s Team, John Tait - Head Coach National Women’s 7s Team, Matt Barr – Director of Athletic Performance, and Dustin Hopkins – Managing Director Rugby Operations. The Group will report through Dustin Hopkins to Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen. 

Interim coach Henry Paul was a leading member of the England Sevens side from 2002 through 2006, and was part of the only England Sevens team to win the Hong Kong Sevens where he was named Player of the Tournament. Paul has been a professional coach since 2010, including time coaching the Russian 7s team. He will coach Canada to conclude the 2018/19 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and through the Olympic Games qualification tournament in Cayman Island, July 6 & 7, 2019. Rugby Canada will commence a national and international search for a permanent Head Coach for the National Senior Men’s 7s Team over the coming months.

“Changes in program leadership are always difficult decisions to reach, however this is part of developing and operating a competitive High Performance program, concluded Vansen. “Rugby Canada feels that this new structure will lead to improved alignment and performance for all its high performance programs, and that must be the priority at this critical time.”

For more information, please contact:

Bryan Kelly
Rugby Canada Media and Communications Manager
C: 250.216.5272