August 28, 2020 – Langford, BC: Rugby Canada announced the launch of revised men’s talent identification programs in both Canada and the UK/Ireland targeting potential players for national age grade and senior teams. Originating in late 2019, both programs share the common goal of identifying elite Canadian eligible players to enter performance pathways and contribute to the growth and development of Canada’s National men’s rugby teams.
Domestically, the National Talent ID Program will be led by former Canadian International, Adam Kleeberger. Kleeberger will lead a team of 50+ scouts, nominated by Provincial Unions, across Canada searching for elite athletes and rugby players to enter Rugby Canada pathways. This program is intended to identify players with potential to represent Canada on the international stage and be offered professional contracts in MLR or other professional leagues. Targeted player groups for U18, U20, Academy, and National 7s & 15s pathways include:• Age Grades (16-20 years old)
• University athletes (18-22 years old)
• Senior (19+)
“I am excited to be a part of this important initiative. In collaboration with regional partners and a national scout network we are creating opportunities for players who have the ability and desire to play for the national team. COVID-19 has delayed our work, however when rugby can safely return our scout network will be attending high school, club, regional, and provincial rugby games to identify many of the players who will someday represent Canada on the international stage,” said Kleeberger.
In July, Rugby Canada partnered with The Sports Office to utilize a data management platform to enhance Talent ID capabilities. This robust system will support both Kingsley Jones (Director, Men’s Rugby Performance) and John Tait (Director, Women’s Rugby Performance) to track and monitor both current and future national team players. Over the coming months Rugby Canada will see over 1000 targeted male and female players uploaded to The Sports Office system advancing its capabilities in Talent ID and Recruitment. Read more on The Sports Office Athlete Management System here: https://thesportsoffice.com/2020/07/13/rugby-canada-partner-with-the-sports-office/.
To support the domestic ID program, an overseas program has been established in the UK and Ireland led by former Bath Rugby professional, Scott Hobson. Hobson will work with a network of scouts across the UK and Ireland and serve as the primary Rugby Canada contact for players who may be Canadian Eligible and are currently playing in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. A Canadian based in the UK, Hobson has a keen interest in aiding the growth of Canadian rugby by identifying players such as Canada 2019 Rugby World Cup selectee Peter Nelson. James Pritchard, who represented Canada at four Rugby World Cups and is Canada’s all-time top points scorer, is another example of a player who was identified as Canadian eligible.
To be eligible to represent Canada, players must fulfill one of the following criteria:
• Player was born in Canada;
• One of the players’ parents were born in Canada;
• One of the players’ Grandparents were born in Canada;
• Player has completed 36 consecutive months of Residence immediately preceding the time of playing (effective January 2022 this will increase to 60 consecutive months).
Canada Senior Men’s XVs Head Coach Kingsley Jones stated, “We know there are talented rugby players with Canadian connections globally and this is a further step in identifying them. To compete in the modern international game a diverse talent ID network is required and when possible, we look forward to expanding the program to other regions such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.”
For more information on Rugby Canada’s Talent ID Programs please contact:
• Adam Kleeberger (AKleeberger@rugby.ca)
• Scott Hobson (SHobson@rugby.ca)