NATHAN BOMBRYS had been appointed the Chief Executive of Rugby Canada. He will take up the new role in the summer after completing his notice period with Scottish Rugby.
Originally from Michigan, Bombrys joined Scottish Rugby in early 2011 after nine years as Commercial and Marketing Director for Sale Sharks. His most prominent position on the Murrayfield payroll was the nearly 10 years he spent as Managing Director of Glasgow Warriors, before moving to the newly created role of ‘Head of International Projects’ last April.
“Our rigorous recruitment process produced an extremely strong candidate pool, but Nathan stood out as the person with the character and experience that Rugby Canada needs in its leader at this time,” said Sally Dennis, Chair of the Board of Directors for Rugby Canada. “Nathan has a vision and a plan for restoring pride in Canadian rugby and leading us into a new era of growth, community engagement, financial stability and increased international performance success. We are excited and keen for him to get started.”
Bombrys is joining Rugby Canada at a crucial moment for the organisation. Last month, a scathing independent report commissioned by the Board of Directors to look into the factors behind the country’s senior men’s team missing the 2023 World Cup and the women’s sevens squad failing to defend its bronze medal at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics said: “Either through acts of ‘omission or commission’ the leadership of the organisation – board, executive, operations, and coaches – have not effectively managed the short-term and long-term needs of the high-performance program.
“Without a strategy to guide it, Rugby Canada appears to be in a constant state of crisis and overall performance suffers as a result. … The dysfunction of the system is ultimately a failure of leadership.”
Allen Vansenm, who had been CEO since 2016, announced his departure last November, the month the review began. Earlier in 2021, Rugby Canada lost women’s sevens coach John Tait, who quit after an investigation into player complaints about bullying and harassment policy and national development coach Jamie Cudmore was fired over social media posts. There is well documented financial challenges facing the organisation, and the attendance at the recent HSBC Canada Sevens was less than half of pre-pandemic levels.
Interim chief executive Jamie Levchuk will now move to the position of Managing Director, Revenue and Fan Engagement.
“I am grateful to be asked to lead Rugby Canada, such a proud rugby nation with a strong heritage in the game and would like to thank Sally Dennis and the Rugby Canada Board of Directors for the opportunity,” said Bombrys.
“I’m proud of the fact that my rugby journey started in North America, and I’ve enjoyed some truly unique experiences through my years in European professional rugby. I look forward to sharing that experience with athletes, staff and other stakeholders, working together to grow the sport in this country at what I believe is a truly exciting time for rugby in Canada.”
“I can’t wait to start getting to know the staff, meeting the rugby community and learning more about the organization in the coming months. On a personal note, Anastasia and I are looking forward to making new friends as we settle into our new life in Canada.”