Rugby Canada Release Kingsley Jones Video: Reaction Mostly Negative
Kingsley Jones and Rugby Canada took the offensive on Tuesday, releasing a video that coincided with the roster announcment of the men's team travelling to Europe.
It's no secret that Kingsley and some senior staff, including the CEO, are battling to keep their jobs after Canada's men's XVs team failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2023, the first time ever that Canada has missed a Rugby World Cup.
The video starts with Kingsley implying that he plans on guiding the program for the next four years, there's rumour that he has a long term contract, the details of which will likely come to the surface during the review process. It raises the question of who at Rugby Canada would authorize a contract that extends beyond the current World Cup cycle? It would be folly to do so without some performance review clauses and deliverables, a most important one would be making the World Cup.
In the video, he dwells on making excuses instead of taking responsibility as coach, he blames COVID and his view that Chile had better preparation. Points that were rebuffed on Twitter by Bryan Ray and Paul Tait of Americas Rugby News (see their points below).
Bryan Ray - Americas Rugby News
Match day squad caps prior to Canada vs Chile 1st test: Canada 388, Chile 234
Tests played from Jan 1, 2020 -> Oct 2, 2021: Canada 4, Chile 2
Domestic pro games from Jan 1, 2020 -> Oct 2, 2021: Toronto Arrows 21, Selknam 13
Paul Tait - Americas Rugby News
Have the Rugby Canada senior staff seen this video? Are they aware that Kingsley Jones is dishonest in justifying Canada's loss against Chile?
The SLAR did not continue through COVID.
The Toronto Arrows played more MLR games than Selknam did SLAR games.
Some of his facts about the age of the team are off as well, he states Matt Heaton at 27 was the oldest player in the match vs USA, he's actually 28. Peter Nelson is 29, Eric Howard is 28, Jake Ilnicki is 29, Pat Parfrey is 29, a number of the players who were logging the majority of the time were in the 26-28 (Rumball, Djustice, Thomas, Lloyd, Baillie) range. There are a number of young players, but the majority weren't getting playing time from Kingsley. When he says the average age of the team was 23, it wasn't those who were getting the playing time.
He ends the video on an emotional plea, he likes it in Canada, he again mentions 4 years, insinuating that's the length of time left on his contract.
Coaching is a tough job, it always has been about the results. Better coaches have been fired for less. When Rugby Canada let Damian McGrath go in 2019, Allen Vansen, CEO, was quoted in the media, "A change in leadership now provides the team an opportunity to refine their play...", "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". McGrath was a very popular coach who got good results, it surprised everyone when Rugby Canada terminated him and in the process promoted Kingsley Jones to the Performance Leadership Group which reported through Dustin Hopkins, Managing Director of Rugby Operations, to Allen Vansen.
It's ironic that now Vansen's own words may be applied to him and Jones, "A change in leadership now provides the team an opportunity to refine their play... [a] new structure will lead to improved alignment and performance for all its [Rugby Canada's] high performance programs, and that must be the priority at this critical time".
A final word on the video goes to long time Canadian rugby advocate, Karl Fix, who was the force behind Canada's own version of MLR 23 years ago, the Rugby Canada Super League, which ran from 1998 to 2008. He was the committee chair for the men's U20 program fundraising group. He also runs the Dog River Howlers, a Canadian touring team and charitable group.
Delusional and desperate! Blames Covid a lot. Took no responsibility as the coach and was unapologetic when asked!! “The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill