McGrath gets Canada Sevens job

Date published: October 7 2016

Rugby Canada have unveiled former Samoa boss Damian McGrath as their new Men’s Sevens head coach, taking over from Liam Middleton.

The 57-year-old Englishman has taken over, with Rugby Canada’s GM of Rugby Operations and Performance, Jim Dixon, happy with the move.

“After an extensive recruitment process we’re very pleased to have someone of Damian’s experience and technical background joining Rugby Canada. We had extensive international interest in the role with many World Series coaches applying,” Dixon said on Friday.

“Damian’s appreciation for the rigors of the Sevens circuit, desire to work with and develop Canadian Sevens coaches, and his enthusiasm and experience of working with young, talented players, like we have here in Canada, were real attractions for us.”

McGrath led Samoa to a ninth place finish in the 2015/16 HSBC Sevens World Series and, in the penultimate series event of the season, captured the cup title in Paris. Samoa also claimed two plate titles, one bowl and two shield wins last season.

Dixon added: “With Damian at the helm we are very confident our Senior Men’s Sevens program will achieve significant success over the coming years, and be well positioned to compete for a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”

Born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, McGrath has held jobs in rugby league and union as well as sevens. McGrath worked with the Leeds Rhinos in Super League and was England’s assistant coach at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup.

In union, he worked with England as a defence/skills coach at the 2005 Churchill Cup as well as their match against the Barbarians and has also worked extensively with England ‘A’.

On the sevens front, McGrath was part of England’s coaching setup from 2001-2006 and was also part of their staff at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. That same year he led Great Britain to the World Student Games gold medal and in 2005 led Junior England Sevens to silver at the Junior Commonwealth Games.

“I am delighted to be appointed as the head coach of the Canadian Men’s Sevens Team. It’s a very exciting time for Sevens Rugby after the huge success of the Rio Olympics,” said McGrath from Samoa.

“The potential for success in Canada, over the coming years, was a big factor in accepting the role. I realise that the task ahead will not be easy but I look forward to the challenge and being part of a forward-thinking organisation.”