Editorials - April 2018

April 08 2018

Rugby Canada logo (Feb 2018)

Rugby Canada Introduces a RWC Qualifying Tax to Raise $450K for Men's XVs Program

The latest news from Rugby Canada is a new "tax", $20 for those 12 and older, to raise $450,000 for the Senior men to qualify for the Rugby World Cup in 2019. The term "RWC Qualifying Tax" was borrowed from a tweet from @T2Rugby a social media account which covers Tier 2 rugby around the world. It's an honest term. Less honest is Rugby Canada's depiction of it, their headline reads, "THE CANADIAN RUGBY COMMUNITY STEPS UP TO HELP CANADA QUALIFY FOR RWC 2019". It wasn't voluntary.

It happened fast, Rugby Canada convened a special meeting on Friday of its members, we assume by phone, asking for the increase. The term "members" means the Provincial Rugby Unions. A motion was presented to increase registration dues by $20. BC was the only Union to oppose the motion, Newfoundland abstained. So for people complaining about the dues increase talk to the Union representatives from Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, etc. but BC said no. The motion passed so BC is caught in the increase anyway. What BC objected to was the length of time, they wanted one year only and then back to normal levels, Rugby Canada wouldn't guarantee that, only that they would revisit the issue next year.

A friend wrote, "What you think of this? Do you trust these fellas with our money - are we paying for another Oxford trip or wherever Kingsley old pals are?" Short answer was no, I don't trust them with our money. I think a lot in the rugby community feel the same. For some insight read the Rugby Canada post and the 165+ comments.

Here are some typical responses:

John Frame writes: Thank goodness we are putting it on the 12 year olds. They really haven’t been carrying their weight.

Anita Chapman writes: So as a parent of a young female rugby player we should be exempt, as the additional funds will never be allocated to her development or her teammates or opponents. She should have to support her own growth in the game as her role models are forced to do. Double standard indeed.

There are many issues wrapped up in this, the integrity of the organization, their communication and collaboration model, but the one I'll focus on here is Competence and Decision-Making.

Has Rugby Canada's incompetence led us to this place and is the answer to reward that incompetence by taxing the members or are there more long term solutions such as letting the consequences play out and then rebuild to fix the core issue which is competent management and effective decision-making?

A brief history of the decision making that led to this scenario. Canada went winless at the last World Cup, they reviewed the coach's performance by committee, that committee decided to keep the coach but he decided to leave on his own and moved to Italy. The committee created a number of recommendations, one was to create a Centralized Program. They hired a NZ coach and then sacked him shortly after when he lost to USA in the RWC Qualifier, they also sacked the General Manager later. They hired a Welsh coach, he lost to Uruguay. Before losing to Uruguay he flew the team over to Oxford for a week at an undisclosed cost. Also the coach they hired for the Centralized Program decided there actually wasn't much of a future there and quit and went back to Quebec. They still haven't replaced the General Manager but have someone temporarily doing the job. The NZ and Welsh coaches also brought in specialist coaches they were familiar with from previous jobs at extra cost.

What would have good decision-making looked like. Canada went winless at the last World Cup. Sack coach and General Manager. Hire the Canadian coach they used on a temporary basis in 2016. The one that beat Uruguay, that placed 3rd in the ARC behind Argentina and USA. Make him responsible for both the senior men and the centralized program. Hire a General Manager. That scenario likely would have ended the same way it did in 2016 when he was coach, we lose to USA and beat Uruguay. We would have avoided the extra coaching hire/fire cycle, the lost time, the mistakes due to offshore coaches learning the Canadian rugby landscape. The Canadian coach would also have brought in Jamie Cudmore as he did in 2016 as a specialist coach.

When the $450K is raised it will go into the same decision-making machine. The one that has proven to be defective. I personally think it's time to overhaul the machine instead of throwing money at it but I'm just one voice. Rugby Canada has already passed the motion, thanked you all for coming, here's your hat, come again soon and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Rugby Canada Media Release

Qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup is vital to the future of the sport in Canada and the health and well-being of all Rugby Canada programs. Every effort is being made to help our Senior Men’s Fifteens team qualify.

Starting April 7th, Canadian rugby players will see that Rugby Canada has increased its National registration dues by $20.00 for participants 12 years of age and over and $5.00 for those 11 years of age and under. For BC Rugby participants, the National dues increase will be initiated at the start of the next registration cycle in September as BC Rugby’s 2018 season is nearly complete.

The sole purpose of this dues increase is to raise approximately $450,000 dollars which will go directly to Rugby Canada’s Senior Men’s Fifteens program’s preparation costs for November's 2019 Rugby World Cup repachage tournament.

Canada's Provincial Rugby Unions, Clubs and the entire rugby community have strongly come together to support this crucial initiative to help our team get to Japan in 2019.

In recognition of the commitment rugby participants across the country are making to the national team there will be a moratorium on dues increases for 3 years. Also, the current increase will be revisited next year once the results of the repachage are known.

“We know it is a big ask, and as players we want nothing more than to be successful for our fans across Canada and make you proud. This is a solid plan and we have trust that with your help we will be successful,” said Phil Mack, Captain of Canada’s Men’s Team.

“Obviously this isn’t where any of us would like to be right now, and I can assure you that we are doing everything we can to be physically and mentally ready for the challenge that lies ahead of us. Knowing that we have support from coast-to-coast provides a huge boost for us,” added Mack.

Rugby Canada Chair Tim Powers and Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen will hold two public webinars for any member of the rugby public that is interested in getting more details about the current path forward. They will also be using the upcoming Women's Canada 7s tournament May and the June International Test series to meet with the rugby public and answer questions. Details on the webinars will be released shortly.

“Qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup is of utmost importance for Canadian Rugby and over the next seven months our program will be undertaking a big challenge to ensure that we do everything we can to prepare our athletes for the repechage tournament in November,” said Kingsley Jones, head coach of Canada.

“Financial support from the Provincial Unions, Clubs and Rugby Community will allow our program to make sure we have the appropriate tactical and technical support, coaching resources, analysis and a full-time high-performance daily training environment in Langford. We have organized a comprehensive match schedule, full of both domestic and international fixtures, over the next seven months and this would not be possible without adequate funding from our partners and fervent supporters,” stated Jones.

“We are incredibly thankful to every registered member from coast-to-coast who support our National Teams and are showing their support for our Men’s Fifteens team as they prepare for the critical repechage tournament in November to book their ticket to the 2019 Rugby World Cup,” said Tim Powers, Chairman of Rugby Canada’s Board of Directors.

“The support provided in our National Teams by our Provincial Unions, Clubs and membership is something we are incredibly appreciative of. On behalf of the Board, staff and players we thank every member for their support of our Team on their journey to Japan.” said Allen Vansen, Chief Executive Officer of Rugby Canada.

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