Over­seas stint may help as Ed­die’s suc­ces­sor is sought

The Rugby Paper - - News - ■ By NEALE HAR­VEY

RFU di­rec­tor of pro­fes­sional rugby Nigel Melville has re­vealed that the search to find a suc­ces­sor to Eng­land head coach Ed­die Jones has started and that the suc­cess­ful can­di­date will prefer­ably have over­seas coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

How­ever, he re­fuses to rule out Pre­mier­ship head hon­chos like Rob Bax­ter, Mark McCall and Dai Young as po­ten­tial re­place­ments de­spite the re­spected top-flight trio hav­ing lit­tle hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence out­side the North­ern Hemi­sphere.

In­cum­bent boss Jones has stated his in­ten­tion to stand aside on com­ple­tion of his four-year stint af­ter the 2019 World Cup, hav­ing pre­vi­ously of­fered stri­dent views that too few English coaches have gained coach­ing knowl­edge abroad.

In pro­vid­ing an in­sight on how the process to re­place Jones is evolv­ing, Melville told The Rugby

Pa­per: “It’s un­der­way and, first, you work out how many English coaches have we got? What are their roles? Where they now?

“You start to look closely at their per­for­mance and that’s what we’re do­ing at ev­ery level right now; they’re all doc­u­mented and we fol­low the coaches on a weekly ba­sis. In fact, some of our coaches are work­ing over­seas at the mo­ment.

“Has Rob Bax­ter done that? No, he hasn’t had a great deal of ex­pe­ri­ence away, but he went with Eng­land to Ar­gentina a few years ago and may in fu­ture go away with teams abroad.

“We’re try­ing to work with Pre­mier­ship Rugby about giv­ing coaches ex­pe­ri­ence and have done it at U20 level, but time is limited and the sea­son is so long.

“A lot of coaches do go search­ing for more in­for­ma­tion and more de­vel­op­ment by vis­it­ing Su­per Rugby teams, but peo­ple need a break at some point.”

Melville added: “No­body’s ruled out. Ev­ery coach’s jour­ney is dif­fer­ent. Mark McCall, Rob Bax­ter, Dai Young... they’ve all been on dif­fer­ent jour­neys but they’re com­pet­ing at the top to­gether.

“The rea­son they’re suc­cess­ful is be­cause they’re all devel­op­ing their own path and that’s some­thing we’ll also be tak­ing closely into ac­count.”

Mean­while, Melville wants to see as­pir­ing coaches from the Cham­pi­onship and Na­tional One push­ing harder to reach Pre­mier­ship level.

Lee Black­ett has ex­celled as Wasps’ at­tack coach since leav­ing Rother­ham, while former Lon­don Welsh fly-half Gor­don Ross coaches at Worces­ter.

Melville said: “There are a lot of good young coaches in the Cham­pi­onship and Na­tional One who are try­ing to get up, so it would be good to see more come through and we’re work­ing hard with those guys on their de­vel­op­ment.

“We’ll in­vite peo­ple to Eng­land ses­sions to watch Ed­die and get in­volved in that, but we’re look­ing for a much bet­ter take-up from them. Just get­ting the Level 4 and a cer­tifi­cate to hang on the wall doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily make you a good coach.

“But if guys put the time in we’ll sup­port them.”

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