Jack Hanratty elevated to full-time coach of Canadian women’s rugby sevens team

After almost 10 months in an interim role, Jack Hanratty has been appointed head coach of the Canadian women’s rugby sevens team.

Hanratty was an assistant coach with the women’s team for sevens events in Vancouver and Edmonton in September 2021 and took over as interim head coach in October. Initially it was for the duration of the year but, in February, his term was extended by another eight months.

On Tuesday, Rugby Canada made the role permanent.

“It has been an honor to lead this incredible group on an interim basis and I’m delighted to be continuing in the role full time and continue with the strides we made this year,” Hanratty said in a statement.

Under Hanratty’s guidance, the Canadian women finished seventh overall on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and fourth at the recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

There has been considerable turnover in the team since the Tokyo Olympics with 13 players making their senior sevens debut under Hanratty.

The Irish-born Hanratty previously served as an assistant coach with the Canadian women’s 15s team, head coach of the under-20 15s squad and as a coach with the Rugby Canada academy in Halifax.

Hanratty was working as a development officer for Leinster Rugby when he came to Canada 10 years ago, initially for seven days to run a course for a rugby club in Halifax. That turned into a sabbatical for the summer.

After returning to Ireland, he interviewed for a job with Rugby Nova Scotia, thinking it might last a year or so. Instead he found a home in Canada and is now a citizen.

Hanratty has also served in an advisory role to the Canadian Sports Center (CSC) Atlantic and Rugby Nova Scotia.

The women’s sevens squad has been without a full-time coach since John Tait, who led the team to bronze at the Rio Olympics in 2016, stepped down in April 2021 in the wake of a complaint filed by 37 current and former team members under Rugby Canada’s harassment and bullying policy

An independent review concluded that while the conduct described in the complaint reflected the experiences of the athletes, it did not fall within Rugby Canada’s policy’s definition of harassment or bullying.

Tait, while maintaining he had done nothing wrong, subsequently stepped down as sevens coach and women’s high performance director. The former Canadian international is now technical director of BC Rugby.

Australian Mick Byrne, who previously served as a consulting coach with Rugby Canada, was in charge of the sevens women at the Tokyo Olympics where the team finished a disappointing ninth.

Kelly Russell, a former captain of the Canadian women’s 15s side, coached the team at the Vancouver and Edmonton sevens events in September 2021.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2022

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