O'Shea replaces Melville as RFU director of performance

London (AFP) –


Conor O'Shea, who stepped down as Italy head coach earlier this month, is to become the English Rugby Football Union's director of performance, it was announced on Friday.

The 49-year-old former Ireland international -- who resigned from the Italy post after a three year spell but with a year remaining on his contract -- will replace Nigel Melville.

Melville, 58, announced also on Friday he would be leaving to "pursue new opportunities".

O'Shea -- capped 35 times and who as director of rugby at Harlequins oversaw their 2012 Premiership title win -- will take up his new post next year.

"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," he said.

"We can really look forward to rejuvenating and re-energising the performance pathway to help, support and push England rugby on."

The RFU said O'Shea would "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 chief executive Bill Sweeney," the RFU said in a statement.

During Melville's three-year tenure, England reached the World Cup final in Japan where they were beaten by South Africa earlier this month.

The former England scrum-half also acted as the RFU's interim chief executive in the first half of 2019, ahead of Sweeney's arrival as CEO in May.