Rugby Canada Updates – August 2021

Jen Kish Makes Statement About Bullying and Intimidation in Women’s 7s Program

In Quantum Physics there’s a theory about reality called the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) which suggests an infinite number of universes are in existence, they’re continually splitting like a many-branched tree.

If this was true, imagine going back to a time when the Rugby Canada Board contemplated the relocation of their CEO to Langford. In that Universe they gave him the option, relocate or resign. In that Universe there was senior management on site in Langford to provide leadership, deal with problems immediately and make sure the culture in Langford was not becoming toxic. That would be a good Universe to be in. In that Universe John Tait continued as coach, pushing the players to medal contention while the players’ voices were also being heard and concessions, when necessary, were being made. In that Universe Canada won a medal and Jamie Cudmore was still the coach of the men’s development team, the Pacific Pride. In that Universe the women’s program also got to keep the $10 million funding they receive from Own the Podium in the years leading up to the Olympics.

Unfortunately in our Universe the Board decided to let the CEO stay in Toronto, distanced from the day to day world of Rugby Canada in Langford. Without leadership, the culture of the women’s 7s program became toxic unbeknown to the CEO or the Board of Directors. It came to a head, the coach was sacked, the women finished 9th, Jamie Cudmore was fired, and as for the $10 million dollars, we’ll find out in Oct/Nov when Own the Podium comes up with their numbers for the 2024 Olympics.

The sacking of John Tait had a lot of repercussions and they’ll be felt for a while yet. So the rugby community really wants to know what happened. Were the women bullied and abused or was it just the machinations of a few senior players who wanted more control in selection and policy? We want to see the complaints against him to judge for ourselves their severity. We’ve heard the women’s 7s version, presented very professionally in social media campaigns but we haven’t heard the other side of the story.

Up until now we’ve only heard rumours but now a credible source, Jen Kish, former star player of the 2016 Bronze medal winning 7s team has intimated that some of the senior women are guilty of bullying other players in the group. The same accusation they levied at their coach to get him removed.

This is the post Jen Kish made on Twitter:

[Note the original tweet has been removed]

Is Rugby Canada following up on this or is this information they don’t want to see? If it’s true then are the senior women going back to Langford to continue this practice? Without any leadership on site to monitor the culture, it’s possibly a toxic environment for young women’s 7 players as there’s no doubt who Rugby Canada have put in charge of women’s 7s rugby in Langford, the senior players.

If anyone has more to add to the story they can contact me at – confidentality is guaranteed.

A final note on the money that fuels the 7s programs. The last Olympic cycle, the women received $10,487,500, that gets you 9th place. The men received $130,000, that gets you 8th place. When Own the Podium decides this fall how the money will be spent for Paris 2024, how will they perceive recent events? It should be interesting to see.

Own the Podium Funding per Olympic Cycle (London, Rio, Tokyo)

Posted in Editorials.