Jamie Cudmore Named Toronto Arrows Academy Director and Head Coach
It has been a long road back for Jamie Cudmore, he should have been national XVs coach by now but due to one ill advised tweet he has had to go the circular route. It’s a testament to his character that he’s forged ahead and it’s that type of perseverance and determination that he’ll pass on to academy players, and hopefully, one day, national team players.
It’s a smart move by the new Arrows head man, Tim Matthews. Canadian men’s XVs rugby needs some good news, and this story fits in that category. Now with Phil Mack running the Pacific Pride Academy in the west and Jamie Cudmore running the Arrows Academy in the east, there’s a faint glimmer of hope on the horizon for the Canadian men’s XVs program.
from Toronto Arrows
The Toronto Arrows are pleased to announce the appointment of Jamie Cudmore as Director and Head Coach of the club’s Academy.
Cudmore takes charge of the Academy, which seeks to identify high-potential and high-performing athletes between the ages of 18-25 and develop these individuals into MLR-ready players through a player-centric, holistic, multi-year program.
Cudmore steps into the role with immediate effect.
“I’m excited to be back in North America and professional rugby after some enriching Professional Development in New Zealand this past year,” said Cudmore. “I coach through a values-based process of hard work, trust and fun to build a style of play that is unapologetically Canadian. As Canadians, we need to play more “heads up rugby” and improve our level of play to be able to compete on the world stage, and I’m looking forward to bringing this ethos to the Arrows.”
“There are many players across the country that have the ability to play rugby at the professional level, and by working with coaches, clubs, and provinces to help streamline our development pathways, we can vastly improve the level of play from the grassroots up.”
The native of Squamish, B.C., who represented Canada at four World Cups from 2003 to 2015 and served as captain of the national team, remains one of Canada’s most prominent rugby figures both at home and abroad. The powerful forward enjoyed a successful 17-year career overseas that featured spells at East Coast Bays RFC in New Zealand, Llandovery and Llanelli in Wales and Grenoble, ASM Clermont-Auvergne and Oyonnax in France.
He retired as a player in 2017, shifting his focus to coaching and raising awareness about the impact of concussions.
While playing at Clermont, Cudmore made his foray into coaching with the club’s youth academy, helping guide the espoirs team to three titles over a five-year period. He also gained international coaching experience as an assistant coach with Canada at the Americas Rugby Championship in 2016.
After a year in a player-forwards coach role with the Oyonnax in 2016-17 that culminated in promotion from the Pro D2 to the Top 14, he served as Forwards coach with Les Oyomen for a year in France’s Top 14 division before moving south to take on the Director of Rugby position with Provence for the 2018-19 campaign.
Cudmore returned home in 2019 to help launch the re-established Rugby Canada National Development Academy – the Pacific Pride – for a two-year spell as the program’s head coach.
He then spent a year as a provincial coach in Newfoundland and Labrador that also saw him coach the Atlantic Selects and lead training sessions and mentorship opportunities for coaches across the country.
Cudmore most recently wrapped up a six-month professional development role in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, where he coached the forwards at Mount Marlins and the Bay of Plenty Toa while collaborating with past coaches, including Vern Cotter and Joe Schmidt, as well as the Chiefs Super Rugby franchise.
“Jamie was the standout candidate for this role during a thorough recruitment process and we’re pleased to welcome another proud Canadian into our club,” said Tim Matthews, Toronto Arrows Vice President and General Manager. “Having known Jamie for more than 20 years, the passion he has for Canadian rugby is unmatched. We’re excited to bring in someone with his extensive experience and zeal for developing Canadian talent.”
“Jamie has earned success as both a player and coach at the highest levels and has a wealth of experience to draw upon that very few, if any, other Canadians possess. He has a clear vision and understanding of talent identification and player development processes and will bring a fresh perspective to supporting young elite players in our system.”
“We’re looking forward to Jamie building upon the Academy’s strong foundation as we aim to give our homegrown talent the best opportunities to represent the Arrows and Canada.”
Further announcements regarding the Arrows Academy staff and program details will be made over the coming days and weeks.