Damian McGrath: What lured me to Kenya

Damian McGrath: What lured me to Kenya

What you need to know:

  • The 64-year-old Briton said that it’s his desire to bring some of the success he has had with Samoa, England, Canada and Germany Sevens teams to Kenya.

New Kenya Sevens head coach Damian McGrath hopes his vast experience in the shorter version of the game will help Kenya achieve its full potential.

The 64-year-old Briton said that it’s his desire to bring some of the success he has had with Samoa, England, Canada and Germany Sevens teams to Kenya.

"I have been a deputy coach at England Sevens for many years including during the victory in Hong Kong. I was head coach with Samoa, Canada and Germany Sevens team where I had successes in each place,” said McGrath, who was officially unveiled on Saturday as Kenya Sevens head coach.

McGrath, who takes over from Innocent “Namcos” Simiyu, said that what lured him to take up the job was Kenya's reputation in the world of sevens rugby.

“There is so much talent and potential and when the opportunity came, I grabbed it with both hands,” McGrath explained, adding that he was blown away with the number of players that were knocking their doors in the national team when he visited Kenya last year with the Germany team for Safari Sevens.

Damian McGrath

New Kenya Sevens head coach Damian McGrath poses after his unveiling on May 14, 2022 at RFUEA ground.


Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

McGrath said his role now is to blend the players’ natural athleticism flair with the basics.  

“To have the opportunity to work with these players is humbling. My reputation has always been built on doing the basics very well, and if we can get that right then we shall have some success,” said McGrath.

“My family and friends are very proud that I have got the opportunity, “said McGrath, who boasts of close to 30 years of coaching experience.

McGrath started his coaching career as reserve team coach at Batley Rugby League Football Club in 1991 where he brought the club its first trophy for 65 years and led to his appointment to the staff at Leeds Rhinos, one of Rugby League’s blue chip clubs.

He coached England Sevens at the 2002 and 2014 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Glasgow as well as the 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong.

McGrath was appointed as the head coach of Samoa Sevens in 2015, achieving success in the World Series including winning the Paris title and dramatically improving their world ranking.

In October 2016, McGrath was appointed as the head coach of Canada Sevens. He led the team from 13th to eighth in the World Rankings, including a tournament victory at the 2017 Singapore Sevens, Canada’s first win on the World Sevens Series.

Upon his appointment as Germany Sevens head coach in 2020, McGrath led the Germans to victory at the World Rugby Challenger Series in Chile in 2020.

McGrath is an education graduate who has lectured extensively at home and abroad on team building, skill development and coach education. He is the author of three books on rugby skills coaching.

McGrath’s first assignment with Kenya Sevens is the Toulouse Sevens scheduled for May 20-22 at Stade Ernest-Wallon, France followed by London Sevens on May 28-29 at Twickenham Stadium, England.

Archadius Khwesa and Ben Salem could debut for Kenya Sevens in Toulouse and London legs of the 2021/2022 World Rugby Sevens Series.

The duo, alongside Alvin Otieno, Timothy Mmasi and Johnstone Olindi, are the five changes from the squad that did duty at the Singapore and Vancouver legs of the series.

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