Jim Mallinder: Scotland name ex-England youth pathway chief as performance director

Jim Mallinder was in charge of England's international player development programme from June 2018
Jim Mallinder was in charge of England's international player development programme from June 2018

Jim Mallinder has left his post with the England set-up to become Scottish Rugby's new performance director.

He replaces Scott Johnson, who returned to his native Australia this summer to take a similar role with the Wallabies.

Mallinder, 53, took charge of England's young player pathway system in June 2018 after spells as head coach of Sale Sharks and Northampton Saints.

He is relishing his "exciting" new role and is "really impressed with the set-up in Scotland already."

"It was clear that this was an outstanding opportunity to really set the direction of travel for Scotland's high-performance ambitions," Mallinder added.

He will oversee the pathway from the feeder system into Scotland's two professional teams, the national men's and women's 15-a-side and sevens teams.

"I am delighted to have secured Jim in what is a pivotal and vital role within our high-performance structure," said Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson.

"He has a proven track record of developing players across a range of different career stages."

Mallinder, capped twice by England, led Sale to European Challenge Cup victory in 2002 in his first coaching role, before steering England Under-21s to the Six Nations title four years later.

He guided Northampton to promotion to England's top flight, winning the title in 2014. Saints also reached the 2011 European Cup final and won the European Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup during his 10-year tenure.

'It looks a very good appointment'

BBC Scotland chief sports writer Tom English

He's very experienced. It looks like a very good appointment. He has an excellent track record in coaching at Sale and Northampton, where he won a Premiership title.

He has been a director of rugby before, so he knows the job. He was mentioned as a possible successor to [England head coach] Eddie Jones, so this will be seen as a bit of a blow for the RFU that he's leaving.

It could be considered a coup for Scottish rugby but we'll wait and see.

'England facing age-grade coaching crisis'

BBC rugby union correspondent Chris Jones

Mallinder's departure leaves the RFU facing an age-grade coaching crisis.

The RFU's head of international player development Dean Ryan and Under-20s head coach Steve Bates have also quit their roles in recent months.

And long-standing Under-18s coaches John Fletcher and Peter Walton were sacked by Ryan last June.

It leaves RFU bosses desperately needing to establish a completely fresh coaching set-up to support the senior side and help develop players through the age-groups.

Chief executive Bill Sweeney has already stated his intention for Eddie Jones to continue as head coach after the forthcoming World Cup even if England don't reach the semi-finals.

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