What's the Latest on the John Tait Situation with Rugby Canada and the Women's 7s Team
Back on February 5th Rugby Canada dropped a bombshell on the rugby community with the announcement that they were putting in a "temporary" coaching team for the women's 7s program pending an investigation. The temporary coach would be Sandro Fiorino, the women's XVs coach, and the Olympic coach would be Australian Mick Byrne. The press release was vague and left current coach, John Tait, twisting in the wind. Although the press release didn't mention him by name, the question in everyone's mind was why was John Tait being relieved of the coaching position. The original article (with reader comments) can be viewed here: http://bcrugbynews.com/show_news.cfm?ID=3633
The Rugby Canada press release of February 5th just revealed it was "a complaint that was received from National Senior Women’s 7s players". Neil Davidson gave more details in his article, which can be read at the above link.
So 2 months plus after the investigation, what's the status? We've learned the investigation report has been delivered to Rugby Canada, according to a couple of sources they've been sitting on it for a couple of weeks. We learned they hired an investigator associated with the SDRCC, the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada. According to the SDRCC website, "The Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada was established to address the need to offer the Canadian sport community tools to prevent conflicts and, when they are inevitable, to resolve them."
News about the report has been leaking out but Rugby Canada haven't commented on it yet, all we've learned is that an official statement is coming soon. As is inevitable in these situations when a corporation is slow to address the issue head on, the informal news sources take over. The latest informal news is coming from Karl Fix, specifically through his instagram account. This is the latest from his account:
According to Karl Fix, "The independent Sport Canada human resources investigator has found the claims against the former Rugby Canada Women’s National 7’s coach John Tait unfounded. Nice way to ruin the 17 year dedicated career of the most successful rugby coach in Canadian rugby history who also played on our National Team!"
There's more information on Karl's instagram account including comments from current players and other interested parties. His instagram account is: https://www.instagram.com/karl.fix/
Hopefully Rugby Canada will issue an official statement in the next day or two with enough details to clarify the situation. There's no doubt John Tait's reputation has taken a hit, and if Karl's account is accurate, that the investigation found the claims unfounded, will he be returned to his former position, if not will there be subsequent legal action?
With the Olympics 100 days away as of April 14th, it's not the best situation for the Canadian women's 7s team.
More to come after the Rugby Canada statement is released.