Recently we both took to twitter to encourage people who were frustrated that we haven’t yet qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup to reach us directly. Many did and lots of good ideas came forward or important questions were asked – hopefully we answered them to your satisfaction. If we didn’t, tell us!

We wish we could snap our fingers and make the good ideas happen now or had a giant wallet we could draw from to pay for every interesting development strategy that came our way. We unfortunately can’t action everything; in fact, we need to do a better job of focusing on key priorities, but that doesn’t mean we won’t listen to the community or assume we know best.  We have a better chance of success in all facets of Canadian rugby when we get informed perspectives from people working on the front lines of the game everywhere.

“The Rugby Canada board of directors and our executive leadership team places a high priority on community engagement. We know we have a very passionate and committed community who want to play a constructive role in shaping rugby’s direction in Canada. Our community is also not afraid to tell us when they think we have gotten it wrong and in some circumstances when they think the right call has been made. We are all for that! Keep it up”.

Recently at the Canada Sevens in Vancouver, we were fortunate to be part of a discussion on the future of the game arranged by Karl Fix of the Dog River Howlers. Fix brought together a diverse group of enthusiasts from current players to long time volunteers and contributors to the game. Many Canadian coaches were there and able to talk about some of the challenges they faced. At this meeting, Jamie Cudmore summed it up best: “If we work together, we can catch up”. It was a great forum to listen and learn for all.

We want to do more of these sessions in the months ahead across the country. The upcoming Annual General Meeting as well as the summer international test series will provide great opportunities for Rugby Canada to hear from different leaders across the country. To get their input and to learn what is working as well as what isn’t.

You might ask to what end is all this consultation? Why bother participating if no one will listen? Fair questions and healthy skepticism! Within the next year, Rugby Canada needs to start to develop our strategic plan for 2019 onwards. Getting this plan right is vital and leadership from our community is essential. We want this to be the plan that receives the most community input ever. Not every input will make it in nor can everything be prioritized, but we need to do this together if we are going to help rugby advance in Canada.

In the weeks ahead, specific announcements about the development of our next Strategic Plan will be made. In the meantime, if you have suggestions about how best to get more community direction, let them fly.

Keep holding us to account. Keep channeling that passion to Canadian rugby’s benefit.

You know where to get us.

Tim                 Maria