Scottish Rugby have dipped into rival England’s performance team and lured the former Northampton Saints head coach Jim Mallinder north of the border to become their new Director of Rugby.
The 53-year-old is the current performance pathway coach at the English RFU but has been touted as a potential successor to Eddie Jones as England head coach as well as senior developmental posts within Twickenham.
Instead, he’s succeeding Scott Johnson in the pivotal post at Murrayfield, after the Australian returned home to a similar overseeing role with the Wallabies.
Mallinder will head up the performance department at Murrayfield with responsibility for the game from top to bottom, starting at the men’s and women’s national teams all the way down to the academy structure and age-groups.
He will also have oversight on all ancilliary departments such as analysis, medical, strength and conditioning.
“This is an exciting role and one that gives me the chance to work with players at different stages of their development, and to deliver a clear pathway for players to progress through Scotland’s representative teams,” he said.
“I have really impressed with the set-up in Scotland have spoken at length with chief executive Mark Dodson. It’s clear that this is an outstanding opportunity to set the direction of travel for Scotland’s future ambitions.”
Mallinder was twice capped for England as a player before moving into coaching, cutting his professional teeth with Sale Sharks before leading Northampton to two Heineken Cup Finals and an English Premiership crown. He also successfully coached England’s Under-20s and their Saxons A team.
“I am delighted to have secured Jim in what is a pivotal and vital role within our high-performance structure,” said Dodson.
“He has a proven track record of developing players across a range of different career stages. I want him to strengthen and deepen the pathway our players will take into the professional game and develop the skills they will need to succeed at their respective highest levels.
“He brings a wealth of rugby knowledge and experience as a Premiership winning coach and Heineken Cup finalist which I believe can enhance our current set-up and enable us to keep making the ambitious strides we want to take in the coming years.”
Mallinder’s start date to his new job is still under negotiation.