Within 100 days to the Tokyo Olympic Games, it is a distraction the Langford-based world No. 3 Canadian women’s rugby sevens team doesn’t need. But there it is.
Rugby Canada is informing players about the findings of an investigation into a complaint lodged by some of them against former head coach John Tait of Mill Bay, the Canadian Press reported Friday. Rugby Canada told CP it will comment soon.
In February, Rugby Canada said it had received a complaint and engaged an independent investigator. The organization has not elaborated.
The upshot is that Tait, who guided the team to the bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and gold medal at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games, is no longer head coach of the national team.
“A complaint was sent to Rugby Canada,” Rio Olympics bronze medallist Bianca Farella told the Times Colonist in February.
“We know that an investigator has been retained to review the complaint and conduct an investigation. To ensure the integrity of the process, I have shared everything I can share.”
Sources have told the Times Colonist the complaints are not physical in nature, but “technical” in terms of style and coaching approach.
Every Canadian training session going back several years at Westhills (now Starlight) Stadium and Goudy Field has been video-recorded, noted one of the sources, in support of Tait.
Tait could not be reached for comment.
Mick Byrne will assume the role of interim Canadian head coach at the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer.
Byrne, who has worked as specialty coach with New Zealand and Australia, knows the Canadian program as consultant to it since 2012.
“I am excited at the opportunity to lead this team into the Tokyo Olympics,” said Byrne.
“I am very familiar with the players and systems and have great confidence that our team will be performing at our best come July.”
Sandro Fiorino, the Canadian women’s XVs team head coach preparing for the 2022 World Cup, acted as interim women’s sevens team head coach during training in Langford until the squad departed this month for two tournaments in Dubai, winning the first and making the final in the second.
The Canadian men’s sevens team is also based in Langford and has also qualified for Tokyo. It placed fifth and second in its two tournaments this month in Dubai.