Overseas stint may help as Eddie’s successor is sought
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.”