Cudmore Leaves Oyonnax: What Options Are Waiting?
On January 11th Planet Rugby ran this story:
Jamie Cudmore has left his role at Oyonnax as assistant coach reportedly due to a falling out between him and sports director Adrien Buononato.
The disagreement reportedly centres around Cudmore’s unhappiness with the role he had been assigned to fulfil. Buononato set up a backroom staff consisting of Mike Prendergast as head coach with Vincent Krishner defence coach and Cudmore attack coach.
The club said in a statement: “After having expressed a disagreement with Oyonnax Rugby’s management and board of directors, Jamie Cudmore decided to end his employment contract with the club and the management board responded favorably to his request with immediate effect.”
On January 12th Boucherie Ovalie posted this tongue in cheek tweet which basically translates, "Hi @JNCudmore, it means you're free for the staff of the XV of France? We know that you're interested in tactics for a long time."
Canadian rugby fans are also interested, "what's up next for Jamie Cudmore". Fans have been wondering why he hasn't been part of the Canada coaching team, Rugby Canada have brought in consultants from Scotland and France to help the team but have largely ignored Cudmore, an obvious choice.
With Vancouver now on the horizon for a professional rugby franchise in 2019, the question continues, "what about Cudmore". On Twitter he has being paying attention. When the Houston SaberCats announced their match day preparations, he replied, "That’s how you roll out a rugby day".
When Vancouver was announced as a potential MLR franchise his answer on Twitter was, "I’ll be putting my hand up!!"
How great would it be to have Jamie Cudmore back in Canada for 2019? He represents so many things about Canadian rugby that we love, the toughness, the ability to gain respect abroad, his staying true to his roots. On his Twitter profile he proudly announces, "Ex Rugby player for Canada , Axemen ,Capilano ,ECB , Llandovery, Llanelli ,Grenoble , Clermont Ferrand , Oyonnax. #squamishboy #UnderArmourFR". Yes he still remembers Squamish and Capilano even though thousands of miles and several levels of rugby beyond BC amateur. Yes, this is the guy we want involved in the new Vancouver pro franchise but can it happen?
Cudmore is still revered in France, he has his wine business, he's very active in his Rugby Safety Network pointing out the need for concussion management. I don't know if we could get him for 2019 but I'm hoping it will happen.
As an aside I've only met Jamie twice, both through Thunder Indigenous rugby where he generously gave of his time to help promote the program. The things that stick in my mind are the wry smile and twinkle in his eye, he is a special individual, I think a natural leader. He came from difficult circumstances in his youth and rugby gave him a path to find himself, that's a message that we need him to share back where it began. The MLR franchise in Vancouver will be a new chapter in Canadian rugby history, it would be fitting to have someone like Jamie Cudmore as the face to that history.