Nigel Melville, Director of Professional Rugby

Nigel Melville is the RFU’s Director of Professional Rugby and a member of the Executive reporting to CEO Steve Brown.

His remit includes: managing the relationship with Premiership Rugby Ltd, the English Qualified Player scheme, the Elite Player Squad agreement, and the academy system. He leads on the player development pathway for men and women and the sevens programmes. He is also responsible for professional game match officials, sports science & medicine, as well as the competitions and events teams which form part of the Professional Rugby Department

Melville joined the RFU in July 2016 from his previous role as CEO of USA Rugby, one of the world’s fastest growing national governing bodies, having led them for ten years.

He became Wasps’ first Director of Rugby in 1995, when rugby went professional, helping them to win their first professional Premiership title in 1996, followed by three National Cup Final appearances, securing wins in two.

In 2002 he moved to Gloucester Rugby, winning the National Championship Final, Powergen Cup and topped the Premiership table by a record 15 points. He previously worked as a performance consultant for Reading FC during the 2005-06 season, helping them to win promotion into the Premier League.

Melville gained 13 England caps as scrum half between 1984 and 1988, captaining on his debut aged 23, and for a further six Tests. He also played for the British and Irish Lions against New Zealand in 1983 and played domestically for Yorkshire, Otley, Headingley, Wakefield and Wasps. 

During the 1980s he was head of UK promotions for Nike and was director of rugby at Otley Rugby Club between 1990-95. He is also a qualified ILM Performance Coach.