Earlier this year, French Olympian Terry Bouhraoua was appointed Mexico Rugby’s new Sports Director of Rugby Sevens.

No stranger to the pitch, the 35-year-old was one of France’s leading players in rugby sevens, playing rugby for over 28 years; and professionally for 17 years. Impressively, Terry competed for France at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and was the leading scorer of the tournament. He was also the top try scorer at the 2015 Dubai Sevens and the 2016 South Africa Sevens.

He brings a wealth of experience to his new role, which will entail the management of both senior Men’s and Women’s sevens teams to raise the standard of Rugby Mexico, as well as work to improve the training capacity and all their national sevens teams programs.

About Terry

Born in Châteaudun, France, Terry Bouhraoua started playing rugby at just six years old.

“My dad played in the village team in which I was born, and me and my two brothers followed our father onto the pitch,” he says.

At 15-years-old he went to rugby school, and in 2005 began his professional rugby career playing for Stade Français in Paris. Four years later, he left the French capital to play for AS Beziers Herault, playing in third division.

“Then in 2010, I signed a contract with the French Rugby Federation (FRF) and joined the French national rugby sevens team, where I was made Captain in 2014,” he says.

Terry continued to play for France’s sevens team for 11 seasons and made his international debut in 2010.

“My professional career spans a total of 17 seasons, including two Rugby Sevens World Cups – 2013 Moscow and 2018 San Francisco – two times European Champions, and of course the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio,” he says. “Another highlight for me was the start of my professional career at 18-years-old; the beginning of my journey in many respects.”

France Meets Mexico

Terry says his new role came about through his connection with Francisco Echeguren, the former President of Rugby Mexico, who he met 10 years ago during a rugby sevens tournament in Hong Kong.

“Since then, we kept in touch,” he says. “So, when I recently made the decision to retire as a player, I offered my experience to Francisco to help grow rugby in Mexico. We met via video with the current President Ernesto Sainz where I shared my vision and passion, and we came to an agreement.”

Bouhraoua has now been in Mexico for four months and says he is excited for this new adventure and challenge, and to be able to bring his expertise to Mexico.

“On top that, I am a lover of the Latin culture and the living climate here,” he says. “It was just the right opportunity, at just the right time, and I am looking forward to working with Rugby Mexico to grow the sport to reach its full potential.”

Terry says so far he is taking the time to observe and analyze everything – from operations to skill techniques – in order to put into place an appropriate plan of action for the progression of rugby in Mexico.

“Since I have been here, one of the major areas for improvement that I have identified is the training,” he says. “Because the country is very big, it is difficult to get all the selection players in one space to train. I am already looking for a solution to this, where we can train more as a unit in order to work towards the ultimate in high performance.

The Vision

Bouhraoua says his philosophy on high performance is work, rigor, and the human, where the player is central to the equation.

“I have brought with me my specific vision for rugby sevens which rests on the sensitivity for a certain style of play, and I hope this will translate into success for Mexico,” he says. “I intend to undertake a global operations project to optimize the performance of the teams, as well as carve out a game ‘identity’ that I think will be favorable to Team Mexico.”

Terry says short-term, he is looking to gain increased efficiency at Rugby Mexico as quickly as possible, including taking the teams to Canada to compete at the Rugby Americas North (RAN) Sevens, which served as a Qualification Event for Paris 2024 and the 2024 World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series.

“I would also like Mexico to be at the 2023 Pan American Games in November in Santiago, Chile,” he says. “These competitions all form part of my long-term goal for the national teams to perform and experience not only local and regional competitions, but to elevate to more international competitions and eventual global success.”

Bouhraoua achieved that short term success in August, building off the development Mexico has been working towards in recent years, with medal finishes for the Mexico Men (bronze) and Women (silver), earning Olympic repechage tournament and World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series entry in 2024. The women edged out Jamaica to retain their Challenger Series spot but the Mexico men’s victory over Jamaica was a key milestone, defeating the 2022 RAN Sevens champions and earning their Challenger Series spot for only the second time in the program’s history.