Amor to oversee men’s and women’s sevens programmes

In a change to England Rugby's performance structure, Simon Amor will lead and oversee both the women's and men's sevens programme.

Amor will continue to be head coach of the men’s side and James Bailey the lead coach for the women’s squad. Simon Middleton will now exclusively coach the 15-a-side team

Tony Roques, who has been Amor’s assistant coach for the last three seasons, will continue his role with the men but will also integrate into the women’s setup to provide additional coaching support.

Next season’s sevens calendar will be an exciting one beyond the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with the Commonwealth Games being held in April in the Gold Coast and the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco next July. It will be the first time women will compete in the Commonwealth Sevens event.

The men’s side has already qualified for the World Cup having finished second at the last event in 2013. They will be joined by the women who sealed qualification in Kazan on Sunday.

'An incredibly exciting time'

“It is an incredibly exciting time for sevens off the back of a successful Olympics," said Amor.

“I enjoyed coaching the England Women’s sevens squad several years ago and gained a good understanding of the set-up through that experience.

“Longer term, there are great benefits in the two programmes working closely together as we grow the game in England and are successful on the world stage.”

And Nigel Melville, RFU director for professional rugby, said his experience would be vital in the development of the Sevens programme.

“Simon has been fantastic for England Sevens as a head coach and his experience of the men’s and women’s circuit, winning tournaments and pulling together a very successful Olympic campaign will be crucial in continuing to drive the standards and performance of our overall sevens programme.”

When reflecting on the 2016/17 season, Melville added: “This season has seen focus intentionally put on the 15s game and preparing for the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland next month.

"From a sevens’ perspective in doing this, it has allowed us to identify and develop new talent in the sevens format of the game. This season has given those younger players an opportunity to gain valuable experience both on the HSBC Women’s Sevens World Series and Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series.
“Following the conclusion of the Women’s Rugby World Cup we will switch our focus back onto sevens and the Olympic Games in 2020.

"With qualification now secured for Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco, the 17/18 season will be an exciting one for the women’s sevens programme with the World Series and also the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast to compete for as well."