Melville keen to offer coaches a 'menu of opportunity'

  • Melville wants to create 'menu of opportunity' for English coaches
  • Sees the Greene King IPA Championship as league for developing players 

Rugby Football Union director of professional rugby Nigel Melville says developing English coaches is crucial in their succession plan to replacing Eddie Jones in 2019.

Jones is due to leave after the Rugby World Cup in three years’ time and Melville says it is important to offer a ‘menu of opportunity’ including international experience to potential replacements and says he would love the next senior Head Coach to be English.

“We’d love them to be English if they are good enough, but we have to give them that education and opportunity to be good enough,” said Melville.

“We need to give our coaches a menu of opportunity. The Premiership is not necessarily going to create the next England coach. We have to identify those coaches and work with them, we have some talent out there but I just don’t think they are being given that broad opportunity.”

Melville, who has returned to English rugby from the United States where he was chief executive of their governing body, added: “I think we should work together with Premier Rugby to develop the next generation of international coaches to put a plan in place for the future.

“There are some good young coaches who would benefit from coming into the pathway or to gaining some personal development in the summer in the southern hemisphere to broaden their experience outside of the Premiership.”

The former England international himself has over 15 years professional rugby coaching experience and became Wasps’ first Director or Rugby in 1995 when the sport went professional.

A playing career saw him represent England 13 times and captain the national side on his debut as a scrum half in 1984 against Australia.  


Melville also sees the Greene King IPA Championship as the ideal place to develop young English talent believing it is important to increase the playing time of academy players.

“It is an exciting role but there is a lot of work to do,” he said.

“I’m putting in a 2023 mindset, looking to the future and the next generation of players coming through.

“How are the academies are run? How can we bring through the next generation of players? The game in 2023 is going to look very difficult to the game today. What our athletes going to look like? We need to look at how is the game going to be played so we can create athletes who can cope and compete and be winners in 2023. It’s great to be back.”

Melville added on young player development: “I’m looking at how the Premiership and Championship can develop and move forward from here.

“We have around 500 players in the Premiership and 500 in the Championship and we have a lot of academy kids not playing enough. I’d like to see them playing in the Championship and playing more rugby.

“There is the A league and the occasional cup game for their clubs but they need regular games and statistically are our potential players playing enough games?”

Melville also believes the second tier of English domestic rugby would benefit by having the next generation of English talent learning their trade in the league.

“I want to make sure we can get everybody the games required to make us more competitive and the Championship has a great opportunity to make that work and also make it an exciting product at the same time,” he said.