Rugby Canada’s National Training Centres Overview

Rugby Canada National Training Centres to Focus on Women’s XVs

When the Rugby Canada Strategic Plan for 2024-2027 was announced there was some excitement around the National Training Centres initiative. In the plan it states the goal as “Develop high performance rugby centres of excellence in different cities or regions across the country to address the training and competition gap in women’s and men’s high performance rugby ensuring quality alignment with Rugby Canada’s national team strategic objectives.” There were thoughts of Pacific Pride type of programs in other regions of the country.

Further reading of the specific National Training Centres document however pointed out another reality, the centres will be focused on women’s XVs initially and once established “may quickly evolve to provide the opportunities to elite men’s players in the same way.”

Why focus on women’s XVs one might ask when the men’s XVs program is the one in dire need of performance upgrading. The reasons could be varied but likely come down to funding. World Rugby is spending money like mad on women’s rugby right now, across the world, so this would be an easier sell for funding. The money received from World Rugby may be earmarked specifically for women’s rugby. It’s also the low hanging fruit for getting positive results, the women’s XVs have been top 7 in the world since rankings began in 2003, and for most of that time have been in the top 4. The program can claim immediate success, “our national training centres have kept the women’s XVs in the top four in the world” sounds a lot better than, “our national training centres have kept the men’s XVs program in the top twenty-first in the world”.

The downside is that it seems Stephen Aboud’s high performance plans are focused on women’s XVs right now, not the men’s U20 program or the men’s XVs. That explains why there’s no urgency over the U20 program, why Kingsley Jones contract was extended to 2025. The 2027 World Cup will expand to 24 teams, four more than previous World Cups, Rugby Canada must feel confident that a late push will be enough to qualify. It feels as if  the national men’s XVs programs have been shuffled to the side for the present, even more reason to support grassroots efforts like the Vancouver Highlanders, local club rugby, youth and university rugby programs.

Further Reading


Rugby Canada is now hiring a Program Director – National Training Centres to begin implementing our strategy to create high performance training centres with partnerships in key Canadian cities.

Program Director – National Training Centers

Reporting to: High Performance Director
Salary: Starting at $100,000 CAD based on experience


The initial focus would be elite Canadian women’s 15s players with a focus on providing opportunities for
players outside of, post or as an alternate to USPORTS rugby programs.

Rankings Men’s and Women’s from 2004 to 2024 compiled by BCRN

Posted in Front Page, Rugby Canada.


  1. Curious.
    How is the management of Rugby Canada selected?
    Is this done by an elected board?
    If so, how is this board elected or selected?

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