Conor O’Shea will link up with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) as director of performance rugby in 2020.
The former Ireland international, who left his role as Italy’s head coach following the Rugby World Cup, will be responsible for the leadership, management and strategic direction of the professional game in England.
The 49-year-old will manage the England player, coaching and match officials pathways across men’s and women’s 15s and Sevens programmes.
He will work closely with England men’s head coach Eddie Jones, however, the England team remains the responsibility of Jones who will continue to report directly to CEO Bill Sweeney.
There had been speculation that the former Harlequins head coach was set to join the RFU, however, when pressed on the matter at a media event yesterday he denied that this was the case.
“Ah, I don’t know about that. At this stage I don’t know.”
“People know more about my new job than I do. I have just left my old job. My new job will come when it comes.”
The RFU officially announced O’Shea’s appointment this morning with the 35-time capped international describing it as an incredible opportunity.
“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 10 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.”