World Rugby 7s Series - 2022

May 16 2022

Damian McGrath - Canada Sevens Coach

Former Canada Coach, Damian McGrath, Hired by Kenya as Head Coach

It was only a matter of time before an international coach the quality of Damian McGrath found his way back on the World Rugby 7s Series. When Rugby Canada terminated him for murky political reasons, he went to Germany to work with their 7s program and achieved some positive results but, due to COVID, never got to complete the qualification tournament to get Germany on the World 7s Series.

Now he's the head coach of a country that has been a core member of the 7s Series but has had its ups and downs. Damian will look to bring some consistency to the program and find a style that suits their athletes. It will be interesting to follow his journey with Kenya.

It starts in Toulouse this weekend with the difficult pool of Fiji, France and Wales.

from Capital Sports - Kenya

New Kenya Sevens head coach Damian McGrath has given a tough verdict on what he thinks of this season’s Shujaa team as he prepares to take charge of the team for the next two years.

The English tactician says he watched several of the team’s matches at the World Rugby Sevens Series and was unimpressed with a number of things.

“The skills are poor, I won’t hide from that. The style of play also… It was difficult to see what they were trying to do but I am hoping that we can make some adjustments. I don’t want to play in a type of way that takes away the strength of Kenyan rugby with the speed, flair and athleticism,” the coach told Capital Sports as he was officially unveiled on Saturday.

He added; “We need to find a way where we can use that to our advantage and so I think we will try to play a game that suits that and also heavily on skill.”

The tactician takes charge of the national sevens team after predecessor Innocent Simiyu was fired following a spate of poor results that included the disastrous outing at the Africa 7s where they finished third and just but managed to squeeze in to World Cup qualification.

The tactician is confident that his tenure will take back Shujaa to the top of world rugby circles and believes the team has great potential to improve in a massive way.

“Kenya has great potential. When I was coach it was always difficult to play against Kenya. I knew that they were always a threat. I was surprised with the results in the last few months and though I was still with Germany I watched the matches. I think I can help with some improvements,” says the tactician.

He adds; “Momentum is a huge thing and once we get some movement forward, it will take a good course and I am sure we will see some improvement.”

Meanwhile, he says that taking the Kenyan job was an easy decision and couldn’t say no when he was approached a week ago.

“It is a huge honor to coach Kenya. There are very few jobs in world rugby that are exciting and when Kenya plays there’s always excitement. So when the opportunity to be involved came it was an easy decision to make and I didn’t think twice. It was a simple thing,” he said.

His first outing with the team will be the Toulouse and London legs of the World Sevens Series, but he says he will mostly takes a back seat as he takes time to learn his team.

After that, he says he will hit the ground running implementing his style of play and also expanding the player selection pool with the National Sevens Circuit starting next weekend.

“Consistency when you play is important and we will try find a consistent way of playing and that will help us improve,” said the tactician.

Pemberton Holmes
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