Former England Saxons Head Coach Steve Bates has been appointed Performance Manager and International Performance Coach by the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
Reporting to Dean Ryan, Head of International Player Development, Bates will lead the England under 20s programme, delivering talent identification and facilitating coach and player development.
He will also oversee the new RFU and Premiership Rugby coach development agreement which was announced in January. Each season talented club coaches will join the under 20 management, adding significant benefit to the current coach development programme in England, with Louis Deacon, Ian Vass and Tom Williams leading the current Six Nations campaign.
Bates, a former Wasps scrum-half who was capped for England, held the position of head coach at Newcastle Falcons for seven years, winning the Premiership in 1998, before returning as Technical Director of Rugby in 2007. The following season he led the Saxons in the Churchill Cup in Canada and became Director of Rugby for Newcastle.
The UKCC Level 4 coach, who will join the RFU ahead of the World Rugby U20 Championship this summer, said: “I have a passion for developing both players and coaches so I couldn’t have asked for a more suited role.
“The RFU and Premiership Rugby have an excellent long-standing relationship and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work closely with the professional clubs to drive the development programme forward, providing a fantastic platform for both players and coaches to develop at international level.
“I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen from England U20 so far this season and the World Rugby U20 Championship this summer will be a fantastic opportunity to look at areas which we can develop further and keep moving forward.”
After studying BHum Physical Education and Biology at London University, Bates worked in teaching before taking the role of Newcastle Falcons head coach in 1996. After leading Scotland A to the final of the Churchill Cup in 2006, Bates took up the position of head coach with the England Saxons two years later, beating his former side in the final to win the trophy.
More recently Bates has held the role of director of sport at Fettes College in Edinburgh having previous experience in education as director of rugby at Northumbria University.
Dean Ryan, Head of International Player Development at the RFU, said: “The combination of his experience of coaching at the highest level and teaching within education means that Steve is an excellent fit for this role. His experience means he will offer a great sounding board for everybody on the programme and he will facilitate the opportunity for the coaches to grow and make their own mark of the team.”