Rugby Ontario Coaches Clinic

March 23, 2022


Rugby Ontario Coaches Clinic

March 1st, 2022


Rugby Ontario Coaches Clinic

Location: Whitby Dome & Abilities Centre  Cost: $50 (includes ticket to Arrows Game)

Friday April 1st  10 am to 4 pm / On-Field in Dome

                6 pm to 8 pm Abilities Centre / Technical Video Presentations

                8 pm SocialPub

Saturday April 2nd :  8:30 am to 10:30 am   On-Field in Dome

                12:00 Toronto Arrows Home Opener at York University 

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Friday’s Content

Dome 10 am to 4 pm: A series of 45-minute training blocks where guest coaches, using members of the Rugby Canada Development Academy (RCDA-60 Girls) and Ontario Blues Junior Arrows Academy (OBJAA-60 Boys) as their “Team Players”, will present a variety of technical presentations. (Registering coaches will be surveyed to provide requests for content delivery)

Potential Topic Categories and Ideas for Dome Activities include:

*Coach Process to be Hi-Lighted in All Sessions

School Return to Play

Safe Turn to Play-Guidelines and Training Plans

Introducing Safe Contact Progressions

High School Referee Workshop

How to Introduce Safe Scrummaging and Lineouts

Community Initiatives                            

Mixed Ability Rugby (MAR)

Flag Rugby

Touch Rugby 

Other Variations 

TIRF Programming

Technical/Tactical Development / Skill Zone-Game Zone Focus



Support Play / Clear-out

Tracking & Tackling

Scrummage Development Exercises

Position Specific Development Exercises

Kicking Development

Abilities Centre 6 pm to 8 pm

Classroom Video Presentation Lead by the Toronto Arrows Coaching Staff

    Rugby Ontario Philosophy Document   Blue to Professional Rugby to Canada

    Coach Process Presentation and Review of Available Resources

    Principles of Arrow Attack

    Principles of Arrows Defense

    Arrows Transition Attack

Social 8 pm to Close

Group to engage at local pub adjacent to the Abilities Centre

Saturday’s Content

Dome 8:30 am to 10:30 am: Two-Hour block where the dome will be divided in half. The Coaching Staff(s) for the 

RCDA & OBJAA programs respectively, will take the athletes through the development of areas hi-lighted at the Classroom Video 


    Principles of Team Attack 

    Principles of Team Defense

    Principles of Transition Attack

Toronto Arrows vs. Atlanta     12:00 pm Kick-off at York University

All presenters and coaches in attendance will receive a Game Ticket as part of their Registration Package.

Spencer Robinson

As the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coach of Youth Rugby and Belonging (DEI Coach) at the Toronto Inner City Rugby Foundation (TIRF), Robinson comes with more than 30 years coaching experience leading sevens and 15’s programs at local, regional, provincial and national team levels in both the men’s and women’s rugby. An accomplished World Rugby Staff Coach with NCCP Level 3 Certifications, Robinson has served as Coach and Technical Director of both the West indies and the Guyana 7’s programs

Jeremy Cairnie

Jeremy Cairnie has had a massive impact on women’s rugby in Ontario. Beginning at the High School level at Earl Haig, Leaside and North Toronto CI. and club with the Toronto Scottish, Cairine then moved into the role of Head Coach at Seneca College. Ontario Provincial age grade programming (Head Coach U18 Central) and presently as Lead Coach with the Rugby Canada Development Academy (RCDA) and assistant coach with the Ontario Senior Women’s program, Cairnie has helped to develop many of the top young players in Canada.

Colette McAuly

Colette McAuly has had an incredible rugby journey as both a player and coach. McAuly was a fullback with the Guelph Gryphons Women’s Rugby Team, as well as a long-serving member of the Ontario Provincial team and National squad. She represented Canada 21 times for the national Women’s 15s, including a trip to the World Cup in 2002 and Canada Cups in 2001, 2003 and 2005. McAuley was a member of the National Women’s 7s team for two years, winning tournaments in San Diego and Toronto, as well traveling with them abroad to Hong Kong, Dubai and Los Angeles. After a decade of contributions, she retired from the National team in 2007.

As a coach, McAuley has played an integral role in creating the Guelph University Gryphons’ rich history in the sport. The Forest, ON native not only played for Guelph, she was an assistant coach for 10 years prior to taking over the head coaching duties in 2007. The 2020 season marks her 14th season at the helm.

For the 2022 season, McAuly has also joined the Rugby Ontario Senior Women’s/Developmental Program as we work with Ontario top performers in preparation for the Rugby World Cup.

Bobbi-Jo Cronk

As a player, Cronk was a member of four AUS championship (2009-12) and two U SPORTS national championship (2010, 2012) teams as a member of the St.FX X-Women. After her Atlantic experience, Cronk played two seasons for the York Lions Women’s Rugby Team earning OUA honours in 2015 and captaining the team in 2016. As a coach, Cronk has been engaged at numerous grassroots, high school and high-performance levels. Today, she leads the University of Toronto Varsity Blues Women’s Rugby Program.

Dan Valley

What a great 2021 season for Dan Valley and the Queen’s Women’s Rugby Program. Selected as OUA Coach of the Year, Valley’s Gales then brought home the National Championship in front of a home crowd at Nixon Field at the U SPORTS Women's Rugby Championship.
Prior to his time at Queen's, Valley was the Head Coach of Rugby Canada's U18 Women’s 15’s program, and was also a Technical Lead for Canada 7’s Next-Gen program in Ontario.
Valley was an Assistant Coach of the McMaster Marauders Women’s Rugby program that won a CIS Championship in 2015 and his high school program at Oakville Trafalgar (Oakville, Ont.) is regarded as one of the most successful High School rugby programs in Ontario school history, winning six provincial medals (three gold, two silver, and one bronze) since 2011.
Valley holds a Master of Sport Coaching from the University of Queensland, a Master of Teaching from Griffith University, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) from the University of Western Ontario.

Amanda Andres

A Level-2 World Rugby Coach, Amanda attended Niagara College after graduating from Holy Cross Secondary School. During college, she played for the Brock University Women’s Rugby development team. Club player/leadership roles with the Thorold Badgers and the St. Catharines Tigers, lead her to more senior roles with the Niagara Rugby Club serving on the executive while working with the U18 Boys and Senior Women’s programs.

After an injury sidelined her playing career, Amanda became even more deeply involved in coaching stepping into the Ontario Blues Junior Program. Through hard work over the years, supported through a mentorship with Mark Smerdon and the Brock Bagger’s’ Women’s Rugby Programs, Amanda will be taking on the Head Coach role for the Ontario U18 West Program for the 2022 season.

Dan Pletch

Dan is a McMaster graduate who won three OUA men’s championships as a player. He has earned 31 caps as a prop for the Canadian senior men’s national team, including playing in the 2007 World Cup. Dan captained the Ontario Blues provincial rugby team between 2009 and 2011 winning the Canadian Rugby Championship in 2011. He also played professionally with Le Pays D'Aix Rugby Club, Aix en Provence in France. 

Pletch currently works as a teacher and rugby coach at Dr. Frank Hayden Secondary School in Burlington.

Bronwyn Corrigan

During her playing career, Bronwyn represented Queen’s University (2010-2013) where they brought home a OUA Championship and Cis Bronze Medal in 2013. Provincial honours with Ontario U-23 in 2011 were followed by numerous club experiences across Canada and Scotland. Over the last two years as a coach, Bronwyn as worked at the London St. George Rugby Club with U17 and U19 women, the Flag Forever and Mixed Ability Rugby Programs, while also stepping into the role of High Performance as assistant coach with The University of Western Ontario Women’s program.

Dave McLean

Dave McLean, Head Coach of Laurier University Women’s Program, is a World Rugby Level 2 trained coach and a Level 1 referee, McLean has coached at the club, high school and University level during his career. He has spent time coaching with the Waterloo County RFC and the Brantford Harlequins RFC, including serving as head coach of the Harlequins junior boys' team and president of the club. McLean has coached the Paris District High School women's program and has previously served as the Forwards Coach with the Waterloo Warriors.

Jennifer Russel

Russell began her coaching career assisting the University of Western Mustangs women’s program while finishing off her bachelor of education in physical education. Ruessel then moved into coaching duties with the York University Lions as an assistant and then as Head Coach. Russell has also support the Rugby Ontario Provinical program as a U18 Central coach and as a coach with the Rugby Canada Development Academy (RCDA). Her coaching history also includes a stint as head coach and director of women’s rugby with the Toronto Nomads Rugby Football Club, head coach of the varsity women’s rugby team at Havergal College and assistant coach with the U20 Newfoundland Rock girls’ team. In her playing days, Russell was an outstanding player with the Western’s rugby team and with the Ontario Storm provincial squad. 

Dave Butcher

Dave Butcher (Head Coach-Queen’s University Men’s Rugby Program) has been involved in rugby for more than 25 years, first as a professional player and then as a coach and sports development professional working with provincial and national teams in both Canada and the United Kingdom. In addition to his current role with Queen’s University, where he has lead the Gaels to numerous Provincial and National honours, Butcher is the technical resource coach/national scrum development coach for Rugby Canada. Prior to that, he was the High-Performance coach for Scottish Rugby and Manager of High-Performance with Rugby Ontario.

Joanna Alphonso

As a player Alphonso competed for the St. FX X-Women. In her first year with the team, she was named Atlantic University Sport Rookie of the Year. In 2015, 2016 and 2017 Alphonso was named MVP of the league and in 2016 and 2017 was named to the USports First Team All-Stars. Post university, Joanna represented the Nova Scotia Keltics at both the U20 and Senior Provincial level.

Alphonso continues to be involved with high level rugby today as both a national team athlete and a coach. Along with her new role in coaching, Alphonso is a member of the first cohort in Canada to be involved in the Black Female Coach Mentorship Program, a pilot program ran by The Black Canadian Coaches Association and supported by the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC).

Iain McLeish

Iain has experience coaching at every level of rugby from U10 flag to the Men’s Marshall One league. In club rugby, Iain has been the Head Coach of the Balmy Beach U18/19’s growing one of the largest U19 programs in the province and winning multiple Toronto City Championships. 

McLeish’s developmental success at the U19 Level has resulted in a movement into the big chair as the Beach’s Senior Men’s Head Coach.

At the high school level Iain restarted a rugby program at Neil McNeil Catholic High School last year and winning the Toronto Catholic League undefeated and qualifying for OFSAA in their first year.

At the University level Iain has spent the last 3 years as the Assistant Coach and Forwards Coach for the University of Toronto.

At the provincial level Iain has been coaching with Rugby Ontario for two years culminating with the U18 gold medal win at the 2019 Eastern Nationals. Currently, Iain is a development coach in the Rugby Ontario Junior Arrows Academy.

Chris Silverthorn
As head coach of the Ontario Blues senior men’s program since 2012, Silverthorn owns a 44-15 all-time record at the helm of the provincial team, including four National Championships. Silverthorn is a former president of Lindsay Rugby Club and youth development officer for Rugby Ontario, and held coaching roles on numerous tours with Canada and Canada ‘A’ sides. Today, Silverthorn is leading the Toronto Arrows as Director of Player Development.

Graham Stickler

Graham Stickler has played and coached Rugby Union across all age groups, up to elite level, across 4 continents in a career spanning 30 years.  From playing at elite level in the Southern Hemisphere to coaching at Club and Regional level in the UK, USA, New Zealand and Canada, Stickler’s main highlight from this time was working as an Assistant Coach to Nigel Melville at Gloucester Rugby in the English Premiership in the early 2000’s.
Stickler is qualified as an England RFU Level 3 and Canadian Level 2 (Comp Dev) Coach, and until recently was the Head Coach and Director of Coaching at Waterloo County Rugby Club in Ontario, Canada, where he has been successfully coaching since 2012, including being awarded Rugby Ontario Male Club Coach of the Year in 2015.  Most recently, in 2019, Graham guided the Ontario Junior Blues Under 18 Boys to the Eastern National Championship Gold Medal.  He is still the Ontario Junior Blues U18 Head Coach and now Toronto Arrows Junior Elite Academy Coach.

Sandro Fiorino

One of the top coaches in Canadian Rugby at 7’s and 15’s, Fiorino has made a massive impact on the game. Whether leading the Canadian Women’s 7’s Team to a historic Bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in Rio, driving the NSWT 15-a-Side Program, or guiding the Rugby Canada Development Academy (Ontario) in developing Canada’s Next-Gen athletes, Fiorino has always had the ability to identify and cultivate talent. 

Peter Smith

Peter Smith, Head Coach of the Toronto Arrows, is only 32 years old, making him the youngest head coach in MLR. The Australian fly-half played professional rugby union in Wales (Ospreys) and Japan (Coca-Cola West Red Shark and Kubota Spears). His last year of professional rugby union was in MLR with the Seattle Seawolves helping them lift the inaugural MLR Shield in 2018. After the 2018 season concluded, Smith came on board with the Toronto Arrows as Attack Coach.

Cory Hector

Cory Hector has stepped into the world of Professional Rugby with the Toronto Arrows of Major League Rugby (MLR). As Director of Senior Academy Programming, Hector has also accepted the role of Backs Coach with the Senior Squad.

At the University level. the 2021 season marks Cory Hector's 6th year in charge of the Gryphons men's rugby program after being named head coach in May of 2016 after. In his first year as head coach, Cory led the Gryphons to their first OUA title since 1998 and in the process, was named OUA Coach of the Year. The Gryphons brought home their second championship under Hector with a 2021 season victory.

Hector has also been heavily involved in coaching at the provincial, club and high school levels as well. With Rugby Ontario, he has served as an assistant coach with several different age groups ranging from U16 to U19. 

In 2021, Hector came on board as Head Coach with the Canada U-18 Men’s Program.

Scott Hendry

As a player, Scott Hendry played for the Balmy Beach Rugby Club, representing Ontario at age-grade and senior level in the 1980’s & 1990’s. During this time, he had the opportunity to play against some of the greatest players of the day in games against New Zealand ‘A’ & England ‘A’. Hendry went on to represent the Canadian national side between 1991-1997, touring both England and Australia & winning three full-caps in Tests against Uruguay, Argentina & the USA. Age didn’t get the better of him & he competed in three Bermuda Classics for Canada.

Moving in to coaching, Hendry Initially worked with the Assumption High School U18 Girls XV in Burlington, then the U18 Boys and eventually senior men at Burlington RFC, before moving onto the Hamilton Hornets who compete in Division 1 of the Niagara Rugby Union. Since 2016, Scott has overseen the U16 Ontario Blues West program and the Ontario Blues Junior Arrows Academy. In his newest role, Hendry is now the Head Coach of the Oakville Crusaders Senior Men’ Program.

Ken Fitzgerald

Ken Fitzgerald has worn numerous hats as a rugby coach in Ontario. Fitzgerald brings over 20 years of coaching experience from the club level to the provincial and college level programming. From his home club, the Belleville Bulldogs to the Loyalist College Lancers, “Fitz” has expanded his role provincially in leading the Ontario Central U16 Girls Program as well as coaching Canada’s Next-Gen Athletes with the Rugby Canada Development Academy. His commitment to coaching excellence is highly respected by his peers and players.

Ian Fitzgerald

Ian Fitzgerald is one of the most respected coaches in Ontario. As coach with the Norfolk Harvesters at Club level and as a High School coach at Holy Trinity, Fitzgerald has also served as a coach with the Niagara Branch 7’s program as well as U16 and U88 Girls Ontario Jr. Blues 15s and 7s Programs. In a new role this year, Fitzgerald with be leading the Ontario U18 Women’s 7’s Team as the go for Gold at this summer’s Canada Summer Games as well as a lead coach with the Rugby Canada Development Academy (West).

Eric Noyes

As a new teacher in the Durham Region, it is incredible the impact that Eric Noyes has had on the Rugby community. Whether it’s coaching numerous teams at the club level with the Oshawa Vikings, introducing Flag Rugby to grade schools, driving High School programing or moving on the elite level as a coach with the Provincial College Champions-Durham College, Noyes’ detail in preparation and enthusiasum for his craft is contagious to all those around him. When you add in his work as coach in both the summer Rugby Ontario provincial program and the Ontario Blues Development Academy, no wonder Noyes was heavily recruited as Trent University Men’s Rugby Program new Head Coach for the 2022 season.

Zac Lamacraft

After an excellent playing career at Pine Ridge Secondary School, Ajax Wanderers and the Brock University Bagger’s, Zac Lamacraft has committed everything to the development of Canada’s future rugby stars. As a teacher at Henry St. High School in Whitby, Lamacraft is developing an outstanding grassroots program that is producing some national calibre players. As a Rugby Ontario provincial coach, Lamacraft has moved up the ranks, first leading the Ontario U17 Boys “AA” team to an Eastern Canadian U18 Silver Medal (2018), progressing to assistant coach with the provincial U19 program as well as Lead Coach for the Ontario Blues Arrows Development Academy. His outstanding work has been recognized with his selection to the Canada U19 National Staff.

Jenn Boyd

Jen Boyd was named the head coach of the Gee-Gees in June of 2013 and captured the program’s first National Championship win just four years later. In 2017 Boyd was made a full- time coach with the University of Ottawa, making her the first full time female rugby head coach in Canada. This past fall Boyd and the GeeGees earned their 6th consecutive USports medal, making uOttawa history. 

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