2011 was a very busy year for the Rugby Ontario Technical Department with a revision of a number of major programs. On reflection we are very happy with what we have accomplished over the past 12 months however the work has only begun and we will be looking to build off of what was done this year to continue to drive Rugby forward.

It needs to be mentioned that Rugby Canada's Technical Staff have worked alongside us to provide leadership and support to a number of programs we offer and the relationship between the two professional staff are striving to enhance the game. Thanks to all at Rugby Canada for your help in 2011 especially to Dustin Hopkins, Mike Shelly, Les Gilson, Matt Barr, Geraint John and Graham Brown who have helped us and encouraged us through the year.

A number of the things completed in 2011 could not have been accomplished without support from numerous volunteers and support from other Rugby Ontario Staff and Board. Thanks to those who have helped us in our program areas in 2011 and we look forward to working with you and others in 2012 and beyond.

Shaun and I want to wish everyone in and around the Rugby community a wonderful holiday season and a safe New Year.

We will be back in action in early 2012 ready for another great year of Rugby in Ontario and across Canada. 

Coach Development


National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP)

Coach Certification Model

In January 2011 Rugby Canada Coach Development Manager Dustin Hopkins worked with provinces Master Learning Facilitators in Toronto to redevelop the NCCP Model. The key was to make it easier for coaches to understand what level of courses coaches required for whatever level they currently coaching. NCCP has moved away from the Level’s model whereby a coach was required to do level 1 then 2 then 3 and so on. Coaches can complete the course that is best suited for them and then they keep their certification current through proposed Personal Development processes (to be released in 2013). The model also links Sport Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) Model by prescribing what courses are best for coaches at the various stages of development.

Rugby Canada and the IRB worked with Coaches Association of Canada (CAC) to better incorporate and integrate the IRB course materials and accreditation.

To view the model click HERE

Streams and Modules.

Community Initiation

Rugby Canada has introduced Community Initiation Stream, which is targeted for coaches that are working with community level athletes and/or new players to the game. There are three (3) modules under Community Initiation:-

Non-Contact – 5-hour practical course that provides coaches more practical than classroom time for introduce and developing rugby in the Non Contact (Flag and/or Touch) context.

Contact – 8-hour course practical course, which reduces class time by coaches doing pre course work. The course is 5 hours of practical coaching development for coaches and includes Safe Rugby Ontario

Sevens (7’s) – 8-hour course that provide coaches the basic introduction to 7’s. This is based on the IRB Level 1 7’s course. Coaches must have completed either Contact or Competition Introduction as a prerequisite to attended 7’s .

Rugby Ontario ran pilots of the new community stream on behalf of Rugby Canada in two centre’s during the spring. The success of these pilots and feedback was important to move these new courses forward.  

Competition Introduction

The traditional entry point to coach education has now been redeveloped and is target towards coaches who are working in competitive stages of the LTRD. The course has been completely revamped and new material and delivery completed.

Competition Introduction Advanced

Is in further development and will be released in 2013.

Competition Development

New delivery and material have been designed for this course. It will only be offered once a year by Rugby Canada and in conjunction with a national training camp.  Coaches at this level will be required to submit applications to be selected to attend a weeklong course and subsequent twelve-month accreditation process.

Competition Development Advanced

Is a certification provided by the National Coaching Institution (NCI) this course is designed for coaches in the High Performance stages of the LRTD competing on the International Stage.

Personal Development (PD)

To be developed in 2012 By CAC and RC – coaches will be required to maintain certification by completing a certain number of educational activities over a defined period.

2011 Delivery of Courses

In 2011 Rugby Ontario held five (5) Competition Introduction courses with minimal number attending. Courses had to be cancelled due to lack of registrants. The feedback from coaches is the courses were not scheduled far enough in advance for them to plan to attend. As a result we released 2012 courses in July. These can be found online. Two (2) Community Initiation – Contact (pilots) One was held in Huntsville during Coaches Association of Ontario’s Coaching Week and was extremely popular in a non traditional rugby area and the other during a Coach Development Weekend at Oakville Crusaders in conjunction with Oakville Sports Council and Start Rugby program.  83 coaches went through in training courses during the 2010/11 Base Funding Cycle.

RO ran two Women in Coaching- Comp Intro courses to address the low numbers of females in coaching. RO is being extremely proactive in the delivery of female only courses. Other sports have been in contact with RO to enquire as to success and operation. They were extremely exciting events and participants were extremely engaged. More WIC will be developed in 2011. 

Rugby Ontario in partnership with Rugby Canada ran a 7’s High School Coaching Symposium as a result of directed funding by Rugby Canada for High School coaches. It was held around a National 7’s Talent ID Camp at RO High Performance Partner University of Toronto Dome in February.  It was an extremely well attended event capped at 50 with people on a wait list. Coaches received IRB 7’s Level 1 accreditation and worked with National 7’s Coaches.

Rugby Ontario ran a 7’s Coaches Workshop with National U18 Men’s 7’s Coach Shane Thompson. The turn out was very poor with 8 in attendance. However those in the course provided feedback that it was one of the best workshops they had attended. I thank Shane for providing his time free of change to help Ontario players attend Youth Commonwealth Games Selection Camp in Victoria. 

RO is researching way to provide alternative delivery of coach education using new technologies. Providing a range of ways to get coach education out to public.

Coaching Portal

Rugby Canada has completed their online Coaching Portal, which will be released to the Rugby public after Canada Master Learning Facilitators meet in Toronto. This will be the focal point of all coaching courses across Canada through NCCP. It will help to automate registration, information, resources and evaluation for all coaches across the country. Added benefits of up to date coaching resources will be provided to coaches.


Coaching Database and Transcripts

RO has worked extremely proactively with coaches to ensure that their NCCP transcripts were cleaned up and accurate. RO dedicated a lot of time to follow up with CAC and coaches to make sure that they received the level of accreditation they was entitled too. As a result RO was able to provide coaches a clear pathway to how they can complete steps to get fully certified.

Coaches who wish to check their transcript and what they need to do to get certified please contact Shaun Allen.

CAC will release their new Locker (database) in the next six months. This will make the tracking of coaches’ certification a lot easier and links with RC Portal.


RO put a lot of effort into the ensure coaches completed evaluation of Comp Intro in 2011. The process is outline clearly on RO Website. With new policy being brought into place in 2012 coaches who are not yet certified are encourage to contact RO Technical Department to get the process initiated or completed.

In 2011 permission was granted for video evaluation to be completed for coaches in remote areas. This provides a further option for coaches to complete certification

Coaching Bursaries

The Government of Ontario through Quest for Gold provides a budget for coaches to potentially receive up to 70% of their course fees reimbursed. This is a limited fund and it is first in first served. RO has tried to ensure those coaches on Comp Intro courses are aware of this ability and as a result has seen a 200% increase in the number of coaches receiving reimbursements.

Learning Facilitators

RO has a great pool of Learning Facilitators (LF) that are providing the education to coaches through NCCP. In early 2012 all LFs will gather in Toronto for a ReEducation (development) weekend funded through Quest for Gold to update the skills and provide training on all the new developments in NCCP.

Ro redefined the LF Expenses and payment to ensure that these important people in the Education Workforce were better treated. This will continue to revised to ensure that we have the highest quality of LF’s to deliver to coaches. Administratively RO has ensured that LF were compensated for expenses as soon as possible after submission of expense report.

High Performance Coach Development Opportunities through Quest for Gold

In April Ontario Blues Head Coach, Rob Doyle attended a Rugby Canada Scrummaging workshop that featured World Cup winning All Black Scrum Coach Mike Cron and selected forwards from across the country.

In July in partnership with Rugby Canada and RO new Sports Analyst partner SportTec the makers of Gamebreaker provided an opportunity to two (2) game analysts – Graeme Kennedy and Ben Burford to work with National Senior Womens Team during Nations Cup to develop coaching skills in analyzing games and providing information to head coaches. As a result of this Graeme will be working with the Womens 7’s team in Dubai later in November.

Darrell Devine traveled with Youth Commonwealth Games in Isle of Man team.

Shaun Allen and Don Petite traveled to National Under 17’s East Camp and George Burford traveled to National Under 17’s West Camp to work with coaching staff.

Dan Kunanec was able to travel to the National Centre of Excellence in Langford in BC to work with National 7’s program as a development opportunity.

Coach Mentoring

Natascha Wesch worked with RO to provide mentorship to a number of female coaches with the representative program to develop their on going coaching knowledge.

Start Rugby

The successful grant was completed in March 2011. The final report of the program was provided to the Government. RO trained 4 HIGH FIVE Sport Trainers that delivered courses across the province. The program provided valuable resources to clubs across the province in the form of balls and Flags.  It is now hoped that clubs that went through the program are working within their communities to develop community rugby. With 7% increase in junior players in Ontario it seems it may have


Courses were run through the spring and coaches at the end of year junior meeting are looking to implement this course as compulsory for coaches in junior programs. Courses for the spring will be released in the new year

2011 RO Coaches Survey

In the spring RO conducted its first annual survey of the coaching community to provide feedback to the Technical Department on how we can better of service to our members and the wider rugby community. A number of the topics have been acted upon and planned for the 2012 season.


RO released a Coaching Newsletter to over 500 contacts. This has been a well received addition to coach development which RO wants to build on in 2012. If coaches wish to opt into the Newsletter they can do so from RO website

Other Coach Education

RO was asked to present to various Education workshops/conferences:-

OPHEA Coaching Conference

OFSSA Coaching Conference

Toronto Catholic School Board Get Fit Week – Conference

Toronto District School Board – Spring Back into Action

Uxbridge Coaching Conference

Highland Coaching Conference

Various High School Rugby Specific Courses – presenters

Player Development

Rugby Canada High Performance Academy – Ontario

RC Academy Manager and U20 Coach Mike Shelley worked with RO to redefine he way directed IRB funding was being used by provinces. RO quickly adapted to the required changes and selected 45 male athletes under the guidelines of the funding and direction of RC. We partnered with Kanama High Performance to provide Strength and Conditioning coaching, training and testing. Kanama was an extremely important addition to the High Performance Team. Utilizing funding through Quest for Gold RO partnered with University of Ontario to access facilities. The access that is provided by U of T is amazing with use of the dome, classrooms, field space and lecture theaters. This access allows RO to provide athletes with levels of facilities for high performance for very little to zero cost. The HP Academy was very successful and resulted in a high number of athletes selected by RC National Teams. RC have identified RCHP Academy – Ontario as currently the best run in the country.

Athletes meet every three weeks for development under the Rugby Ontario Way Capacities – Technical, Tactical, Physical, Mental and Lifestyle. It was a successful program that garnered a number athletes transitioning into National Teams. Also the base line testing that the athletes completed saw extreme increased significantly.

Rugby Ontario Academy

Rugby Ontario ran a provincial level academy during the winter moths. The decision was made to have separate weekends for male and female. This was successful in raising each genders skill development. We worked with coaches to build coach development into the program. The sessions were based on the Rugby Ontario Way Capacities.  

Rugby Ontario Way

Rugby Ontario worked with Rugby Canada to build an implementation of Long Term Athlete Development. We searched the world to see what other nations were doing and found that Ireland had a solid model. On approval from the Irish Rugby Football Union we were able to break down the documentation they had and make it fit for and Ontario and Canadian context. The final document is designed to incorporate NCCP Coaching Certification and Refereeing Certification but more importantly provides a road map for a coach on what they should be focusing on coaching their athletes that is appropriate to their development level.

The full document can be found on Rugby Ontario under Development

Highway to High Performance

RO was successful at securing a grant through the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport that is designed to develop 16 7’s coach that will talent identify athletes from across the province that might or might not be playing rugby presently and develop teams that will  compete in the 2012 Ontario Summer Games.

More on this program can be found on Rugby Ontario under The Game – 7’s

Ontario Athlete Assistance Program – Quest for Gold

RO worked very hard with the government to redesign the OAAP in 2011/12 to ensure that the right athletes are receiving the funding. We are in a 2 year transition phase that will start this December with RO first ever Combine. In year to come we will run two events like this per year.

We have also changed the way we structure the card for the first time accepting to take the option of splitting the cards. This year we will offer 20 Half Cards and 16 Full cards to athletes.  

This program still is a work in progress and RO is determined to get it right and to ensure that the athletes who receive the funds use it correctly to enhance their performance.

Referee Development

Ontario Referee Focus Group

The second year of the Focus Group improved the level of refereeing in the 17 referees that were selected. The group met on 5 different occasions during weekends. They developed a level of expectations on their own that ensured that the Group was fully committed to their development.  The 17 referees abilities developed significantly over the season.