Rugby Canada Extends Kingsley Jones Contract for Two Years – Reaction from the Rugby Community
[editor’s comments below]
You know the joke, an American, an Irishman and a Welshman walk into a bar – the punch line of the joke is Rugby Canada. An American CEO backed by World Rugby money, hires an Irish High Performance Director who extends the contract of a Welsh coach. A coach who oversaw Canada not making the World Cup for the first time in Rugby World Cup history, losing to USA, Uruguay and Chile. A coach who hasn’t been able to get the top European professionals to commit to playing for Canada. A coach who has seen the morale of the men’s XVs program at an all time low and long time supporters walk away from the game in disbelief at Rugby Canada’s decision making.
What the Canadian rugby community was expecting was a fresh start with a talented Canadian put at the helm of the men’s XVs program. Someone who could provide the energy going into a new world cup cycle, who could galvanize support with the European professionals, who could get the Canadian rugby community excited about the future and throwing their support behind the program. Rugby Canada went with consistency, consistency in losing, consistency in the fear of displeasing World Rugby, consistency in making poor decisions.
The Rugby Canada media release is below. Canadian rugby commentator Bryan Ray on Twitter has a start at dissecting some of the weak points in the release, check out his comments on his profile at https://twitter.com/raysrugby – also check out Squidge Rugby, a popular world rugby commentator at https://twitter.com/SquidgeRugby
Kingsley Jones came to Canada in 2017 and was given the job to qualify as Americas 2. That didn’t happen, Canada lost to Uruguay and had to go through the repechage to qualify for RWC 2019. In the 2023 World Cup cycle, Canada didn’t even get as far as the repechage, the USA qualified for that but when they didn’t win the repechage the USA sacked their coach. They installed a motivated American, a former U20 coach, and they started flexing their muscles right away, defeating Canada at the U20 level and reversing the trend from years before.
It’s a sad day for Canadian rugby, one pundit summed it up, “I challenge you to find a national body more disconnected with the needs and desires of its members than this one.”
What’s up next, the men’s XVs November tests in Spain and then a key indicator on the high performance leadership will be the men’s U20 performance in 2024.
from Rugby Canada
Monday October 16, 2023 (Langford, BC) – Rugby Canada has signed Kingsley Jones to a two-year contract extension as Head Coach of Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team that will see him lead the team through 2025.
Appointed as Head Coach in time to lead Canada to and at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Jones has worked to widen the depth of Canada’s men’s rugby program, investing in young players and building Canada’s depth chart, with now over 90 players in high performance daily training environments. Over the last six years, he has continued to foster opportunities for Canadian players to compete and train in the MLR and overseas while also improving collaboration between Rugby Canada’s sevens and 15s programs and supporting the development of the Canadian rugby pathway. Jones was instrumental in restarting the Pacific Pride Academy and has worked to bring Canadian coaches such as Sean White, Phil Mack and Hubert Buydens into Rugby Canada’s high performance programs.
“We recognize that it is disappointing not to see Canada in the Rugby World Cup this year. We need to make significant improvements and rebuild our program to see our Canadian team back knocking on the doors of the very top rugby nations. Considerable building work has already begun, but there are lots of elements that need to be put into place. We need regular fixtures and consistent competition for our national team squad, in addition to quality training and coaching,” said Nathan Bombrys, Rugby Canada CEO. “We believe that Kingsley is the right head coach for this next stage in our journey, providing consistency to our program and continuing the work started in developing our squad.”
“Kingsley brings a wealth of experience, technical knowledge and commitment to the role of head coach,” said Stephen Aboud, Rugby Canada Director of High Performance. “A tireless, passionate, and energetic approach underlined by a constant need for technical improvement are essential in the preparation and build up to the Rugby World Cup qualifiers in two years. Rugby Canada’s goal is clear, Rugby World Cup qualification, and Kingsley’s appointment ensures the stability and familiarity required to build with confidence towards achieving this goal.”
Prior to joining Rugby Canada in 2017, the former captain of Wales held a senior high performance role with Wales Rugby Union. His coaching resume includes winning silverware in the English Premiership and the European Challenge Cup with the Sale Sharks, coaching Russia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and helming Dragons RFC in the URC. Earlier this year, he earned his second appointment as Assistant Coach of Barbarian F.C. for the 2023 Killik Cup showdown against the World XV.
“I am excited for the opportunity to continue building with this team. A lot of the dedicated, hard-working young players we’ve worked with over the last six years are now 26, 27, and reaching their prime, and I’m excited to see them fulfill their potential,” said Jones. “Having depth, raising and driving standards, pushing each other on, is very important to being competitive. It’s a great honour to coach for Canada and to have this opportunity to continue building cohesion and continuity with this young group to put us in a good spot for 2025.”
Information on upcoming test matches and competition, and further updates about Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team, will be announced shortly.