JIM MALLINDER is set to be named as Scottish Rugby’s new Director of Performance Rugby later today [Friday], according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.
The former Northampton Saints Director of Rugby, who has been in charge of the RFU’s international player development programme following the departure of Dean Ryan in May, had been identified as a potential replacement to Eddie Jones as England head coach, but has now opted instead to move north as Scott Johnson‘s replacement.
The appointment has been confirmed by SRU Chief Operating Officer Dominic McKay in a tweet early on Friday morning.
The Telegraph reported that: “It is expected Mallinder will be in his new position in time for the World Cup in Japan next month, given that the RFU is unlikely to want the 53 year-old to remain in place. That will not stop the SRU acquiring significant intellectual property from Twickenham with his recruitment.”
Mallinder, who won two caps for England at full-back, began his coaching career at Sale in 2001, leading the club from 11th in the Premiership to second, and to their first piece of meaningful silverware when they lifted the Parker Pen Shield (now the European Challenge Cup) in 2002.
He also helped guide England Under-21s to the Six Nations title in 2006 before coaching Northampton for 10 years, overseeing their return to English rugby’s top flight, two European final appearances and the Premiership title in 2013-14, before leaving the club in December 2017.
The former PE teacher previously had a role with the national academy at the RFU and also coached England Saxons between 2006-07.
He came close to joining Cardiff Blues the following year before Ryan asked him to be part of a major overhaul of the RFU’s development pathway.
“This is a real body blow to the RFU,” said a source on Thursday night, according to The Telegraph. “Jim was seen as an experienced Premiership operator who could carry on the development overhaul. Now the cupboard is completely bare.”
SRU Chief Executive Mark Dodson indicated that the announcement of Johnson’s replacement was imminent when he spoke to the press following the SRU AGM earlier this month.
“We’re in conversations at the moment and I’m hopeful that on the next few weeks we’ll be coming to you and talking to you about an appointment,” he said. “To avoid any doubt, it will be a high performance director of rugby. As many people understood Scott Johnson’s job was across the whole of the game, domestically and everything else, this will be a high performance appointment.
Former Fiji Sevens coach Ben Ryan is currently conducting a review of the SRU’s high performance department, looking into the academy set-up, age-grade and pro rugby, and is expected to report back to Dodson in early September.