Former Italy coach Conor O’Shea is joining the RFU to become their new director of performance.
O’Shea comes in with current Professional Rugby Director Nigel Melville leaving the RFU, and will be responsible for the leadership, management and strategic direction of the professional game in England.
The former Ireland international has spent the past four years as Italy head coach, having previously coached Harlequins as well as working as the RFU as the director of regional academies between 2005 and 2008.
And O’Shea is excited about the long-term prospects with the RFU as England look to build on reaching the World Cup final earlier this month in Japan.
O’Shea said: “I am privileged and honoured and it is an incredible opportunity to join at a really exciting time for English rugby.
“I’ve spent the last four years in Italy, six years at Harlequins and before that ten years at London Irish, so I feel I know the system pretty well. The good times, the bad times, winning things and being competitive, so I can relate to the people and challenges that happen within our system. I have learned a huge amount internationally in the last few years as well.
“There is an exciting vision at the RFU. It is not just about winning tomorrow, but also about sustaining success and winning long into the future. We can really look forward to rejuvenating and re-energising the performance pathway to help, support and push England rugby on. As well as our relationships with all stakeholders, it’s about women’s rugby, sevens, referees and coach development, which is absolutely fundamental.
“There has been some fantastic work done over a long period of time in these areas and there have been some challenges for various reasons as well. Now hopefully there is an opportunity to have stability, with the ability to invest and really push forward and challenge ourselves to become better. We are here to provide a sustainable winning environment and I hope I can play my part in creating that.”