LEEDS-BORN Nigel Melville is to join the Rugby Football Union this summer as director of professional rugby.
The RFU said that former Otley and England scrum-half Melville will take over the remits of Rob Andrew, whose departure as professional rugby director was also announced on Friday afternoon, and head of player development Joe Lydon.
Melville, whose previous jobs included rugby director roles at Aviva Premiership clubs Gloucester and Wasps, is currently chief executive of USA Rugby.
The RFU said that 55-year-old Melville would be responsible for professional rugby in England for the RFU, with particular focus around managing relationships with Premiership Rugby, the English qualified player scheme, the EPS (elite player squad) agreement and the academy system.
He will also lead on the player development pathway for men and women and the sevens programmes.
Melville said: “I would like to thank USA Rugby for their support, and I am very proud of what has been achieved in the organisation and the game in the US over the last decade.
“I feel I am leaving USA Rugby in a very strong place to continue the growth it has experienced in recent years and keep improving internationally.
“However, I am now hugely excited about this opportunity to join England Rugby in what is a very buoyant time.
“This year already, the men have claimed the Grand Slam, the domestic game has continued to thrive, the Under-20s are looking to win the World Rugby U20 Junior World Championship in Manchester, and the men and women will compete in the sevens competition at the Olympics in Rio for the first time ever.
“I am looking forward to helping bring further success to England teams.”
Andrew, meanwhile, said that in his opinion Melville was “the best candidate” to take on the role.
Melville has worked at USA Rugby for 10 years, while stints with Wasps and Gloucester realised domestic trophy success.
He won 13 caps, captaining England on his Test debut against Australia in 1984. He also toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions a year earlier.
Andrew, meanwhile, will continue working on completion of the latest agreement between Twickenham and England’s Premiership clubs that will run until after World Cup 2023.
His exit following 10 years at Twickenham is the latest development during a season that saw England become the first host nation in World Cup history to make a pool stage exit - that failure resulted in head coach Stuart Lancaster departing - before Lancaster’s successor Eddie Jones masterminded Six Nations title glory and a first Grand Slam since 2003.