SCOTTISH RUGBY have appointed John Fletcher (who previously spent a decade as England Rugby Head of Player Development Pathway between 2008 and 2018, as well six years at Newcastle Falcons as academy manager then Director of Rugby between 2002 and 2008) to the newly-created role of ‘Head of Pathways and Elite Coach Development’. His first day in the new job will Monday 13th December.
This new role has been developed as part of the on-going review of the High-Performance Department overseen by Director of Performance Rugby, Jim Mallinder.
“I am delighted to welcome John to Scottish Rugby. His experience in player and coach development spans across various sports at a High Performance level,” said Malinger. “The experience and insight that he will bring is what we need to take this crucial role forward.
“The wider restructure of High Performance is still on-going, and we are close to finalising our structure with a few roles still to fill. The Head of Pathways and Elite Coach Development role is going to be key in helping us align with the new Scottish Rugby strategy by focussing on the player pathways and providing vital support to our top coaches and specialist teams.”
The Head of Pathways and Elite Coach Development role has been created to support the next generation of performance coaches and oversee development programmes for all pro team assistant coaches and Scotland women coaches, as well as head coaches in Super6 and age-grade programmes.
In this role, Fletcher will also oversee the whole pathway within the women and girls programme as well as the under-18 male pathway programme to ensure the implementation of world-class player development. He will also lead on the FOSROC Regional Academy Programme to ensure consistent standards are met at all levels of the player pathway.
“This work will act as a ‘bridge’ between the Rugby Development and High Performance departments to ensure it is fully integrated on all player pathway matters,” said a statement issued by Scottish Rugby.
Fletcher has been a mentor in recent years for coaches and talent managers within the RFU, ECB, FA and England Hockey. He has also worked as a coaching expert with UK Sport and their Culture Health Check Programme.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be offered this position and player and coach development are areas that I am hugely passionate about,” he said. “I have spent most of my working life leading programmes that support both players and coaches and I am really eager to get started.
“I am keen to get to know the people and to better understand the role that I can play in the delivering the strategic plan. I am really excited about where Scottish Rugby is going. The Men’s first team performances have been really strong, there are great opportunities across the pathway and in the Women’s game.
“I genuinely feel that coaching can be a competitive advantage and I feel that Scottish Rugby can get ahead of their competitors and coach development is one of the ways to do that.”