July 15, 2019, Langford, B.C. - Rugby Canada announced today that Jamie Cudmore has been named as head coach for the newly established Pacific Pride Academy, a national high-performance men’s program aimed at preparing young emerging Canadian players for professional rugby at the highest level.
The Academy will run approximately 10 months a year out of the Rugby Canada Al Charron National Training Centre in Langford B.C., and is fielding its first team in the 2019-2020 BC Rugby Men’s Premier League season, beginning September 2019.
“Pacific Pride Academy is an important step in the investment of young emerging players in Canada, and we are thrilled to be welcoming Jamie to the head coaching role,” said Dustin Hopkins, Managing Director, Rugby Operations for Rugby Canada. “Jamie’s passion for the game and success as a professional player, and more recently as a coach, makes him a perfect fit to lead the program. I can’t think of a better example for young Canadian players than a Pride alumni who went on to both represent his country on the international stage and play for some of largest teams in Europe, and who is known for epic battles against some of the most well-known players in the world.”
Cudmore – an alumni of the original Pride academy based out of Victoria that participated in the BC Rugby Premier League in the mid-1990’s to mid-2000’s - is inarguably one of Canada’s most successful players on the international stage. He represented Canada at 4 World Cups from 2003 to 2015, and has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world, including Llandovery RFC, Llanelli RFC, FC Grenoble, Oyonnax and ASM Clermont Auvergne. On the field, few Canadian players have had such exposure and made such an impact playing professionally overseas and on the international stage for Canada.
“I was a Pride player back in 2000/01, and it gave me the experience to go off into the world of professional rugby, so I’m very excited to come home and help grow Canadian rugby after all it’s given me over the years,” said Cudmore. “I look forward to getting to work with this young talent from across Canada, focusing on quality high-speed rugby and building their skill sets to be ready for the next step in their careers.”
Since finishing as a professional player, Cudmore has been developing his coaching skills, having served as a Clermont Youth Academy Coach and Rugby Canada ARC support coach in 2016, then moving onto a head coaching role with Oyonnax (France – Top 14) in 2017, and most recently Cudmore held the position of Director of Rugby for Provence Rugby. Cudmore’s goal is to contribute to Rugby Canada’s efforts of investing in young Canadian rugby talent with success being defined by players being called into higher level rugby including 7’s, National team, MLR or European professional contracts.
“There has always been great talent in Canada, and the structure keeps getting better with more kids getting involved at the youth level,” continued Cudmore. “With dedicated coaching and strong systems in place, I am confident we can continue to grow our player pool, and see success for our national teams while we help fulfill our individual players’ professional career goals.”
The Pacific Pride will be largely made up of uncapped players from across Canada whose progression suggests they are one to three seasons away from playing senior international rugby. With the upcoming season kicking off in September, selection for the Academy roster is in its final stages, and will be announced in the coming weeks.
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