François Ratier is leaving his post as Canadian National Senior Women’s Head Coach, but he will be staying involved with Canadian rugby. The 45-year-old will move from Quebec to Victoria to take up a full-time position as National Academy Head Coach. While an internal memo has already circulated, Rugby Canada are expected to confirm the appointment publicly in the coming days.
Ratier’s primary role will be to lead the Rugby Canada Centralized Program (RCCP) on a daily basis. The program had been under fire with now-departed coach Mark Anscombe largely absent from day-to-day sessions during his tenure. Ratier will also take charge of the Canada ‘A’ tour to the Americas Pacific Challenge in October and act as an assistant to the incoming Senior Men’s Head Coach. He will be aided in Uruguay and at the RCCP by current Senior Men’s scrum expert Mike Shelley.
It’s some much-needed good news for a Canadian men’s program that is under immense pressure to improve having fallen to their lowest ever point on the World Rugby Rankings. Ratier has received universal support from both men’s and women’s players having led the NSWT to consistent success since his appointment in 2013 and also stepped in as interim Head Coach of the NSMT during the 2016 Americas Rugby Championship. He is also held in high regard by coaches throughout the country both for his expertise and community engagement.
Originally from France, Ratier moved to Canada in 2003 after playing as a winger for his home club in Charente. Initially with Rugby Club de Montreal (RCM), he also had coaching roles at both McGill and Concordia Universities and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue (SABRFC) before being appointed Head Coach of Quebec’s provincial program. He was an assistant with Canada ‘A’ in 2009 and then spent three seasons with the Canada age grade program before taking over the NSWT.
It is expected that Ratier will also be named interim head coach of the NSMT until a permanent replacement for Anscombe is named. No firm commitments have yet been made but it’s understood Rugby Canada is currently working with a short list in the hopes of confirming an appointment prior to the November test series.