30 April, 2008
The Elite Rugby Department of the RFU has announced that John Fletcher has been appointed as a National Academy Coach and as a full time Coach to the England U18 team from July 1, 2008.
John Fletcher joins the RFU following his recent departure from Newcastle Falcons where he ran the club's Academy for four years before becoming its Director of Rugby in 2006.
John succeeds Geoff Richards who has worked part time for the England U18 team this season with specific responsibility for the backs.
Kevin Bowring, Head of Elite Coach Development said "John brings a wealth of club Academy and senior coaching experience to the RFU and we're very much looking forward to him working within the programme. He has an excellent track record in developing young players and we're confident that he will continue to do that within the National Academy and the England U18 structure. I'd like to thank Geoff Richards for all his hard work and congratulate him on the success he has achieved with the England U18 backs this season. I wish him every success in his coaching career."
"John's move to the RFU further endorses the aims and objectives of the elite coach development (ECD) programme. The programme focuses on preparing elite coaches to operate effectively to a world class standard in the environment of international and domestic elite rugby including the Guinness Premiership, First Division Rugby (FDR) and Heineken Cup competitions. The results to date have been very positive and Jim Mallinder, Dorian West, Steve Bates and Toby Booth have all been given the opportunity to develop in both coaching environments.
"At the present time over 40 English qualified coaches have achieved the new Levels 4 and 5 coaching qualifications. A number of elite players have progressed into coaching and have been supported by the ECD programme. Dorian West, Paul Grayson, Mark Mapletoft, Neil Back, Mark Cornwell, Ian Peel, Graham Rowntree, Neal Hatley, Alex Sanderson and Mike Catt are just some who are benefiting from the ECD programme."
John Fletcher said "I am delighted to have been appointed as a National Academy Coach and I am looking forward to working within the RFU's Elite Rugby department. I hope to build on the outstanding work that the U18 management have produced over a number of years. To be given the opportunity to work with the best young players in England is very exciting."
The England U18 team has won all four of its matches in 2008 against Wales at Worcester and Italy, France and Scotland in Cork.
The England U18 squad will tour Argentina this summer from July 14 through to August 5, 2008. The dates and fixtures will be announced in due course.