11/13/2017 09:56 EST | Updated 11/13/2017 14:41 EST

Rugby Canada parts ways with general manager, restructures front office

Rugby Canada, which has seen its flagship men's 15s team fall to an all-time low in the world rankings, is parting ways with general manager Jim Dixon.

The New Zealander, in the role of general manager of rugby operations and performance, had been in charge of the rugby side of things for the last two and a half years.

Dixon joined Rugby Canada in April 2015, succeeding Mike Chu who returned to his native New Zealand. Prior to that Dixon was CEO of B.C. Rugby. He has also worked in Australia, Spain and England.

The Canadian men were at a record low of No. 24 in the rankings but moved up one notch this week to No. 23 despite losing 54-22 to No. 12 Georgia in Tbilisi on the weekend.

While the women's side of the program has prospered recently, with Canada winning a sevens bronze at the Rio Olympics, the men floundered. The men's sevens team failed to qualify for Rio, leading to the dismissal of coach Liam Middleton.

Dixon also fired 15s coach Mark Anscombe after the Canadian men were beaten by the U.S. in their first attempt at qualifying for the 2019 World Cup. Kieran Crowley, Anscombe's predecessor, also left on Dixon's watch after an internal review of the men's program following the 2015 World Cup.

Dustin Hopkins, Rugby Canada's director of development, is taking over as interim GM while the position is posted.

Dixon's exit is part of a restructuring that sees Rugby Canada downsize its corporate office in Richmond Hill, Ont., and move several departments to its centre of excellence in Langford, B.C. They include the finance, marketing and communications, general operations and governance departments.

Current CEO Myles Spencer, chief financial officer Linh Nguyen and director of marketing and communications Carlos Ferreira will be giving way to new staff based in Langford, Rugby Canada said in a release.

Rugby Canada says its restructuring comes after an "extensive review" of the entire organization.


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