Rugby men’s national sevens coach axed

Disappointing season's end prompts Rugby Canada to not renew Liam Middleton's contract

Langford-based Rugby Canada announced Wednesday that men’s sevens national team head coach Liam Middleton’s contract would not be renewed.

The move followed a review of the men’s sevens program and a fifth-place finish at the last-chance 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament in Monaco.

The organization is beginning a global search for Middleton’s replacement immediately. In the interim, Rugby Canada’s current staff will maintain preparations for the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Rugby Canada’s general manager of rugby operations and performance, Jim Dixon, thanked Middleton for his 22 months of service to the organization.

“The future success of this program is reliant on continuing the culture of excellence, commitment and discipline established by Liam,” Dixon said in a release. “I am 100 per cent confident the program staff, and most importantly the players, will respond to this challenge.”

Canada finished a disappointing 13th on the HSBC Sevens World Series list this season and was forced to come through the back door if it wished to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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